This week Caroline Lucas asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the delay in the delivery of HMS Audacious to the in-service dates of the (a) final three Astute submarines; (b) Dreadnought submarines; (c) the schedule for dismantling out of service nuclear submarines and (d) the requirements for nuclear licensed dock capacity at Devonport; and if he will make a statement.
The Government’s response: The delay to the delivery of Audacious will have some impact on the schedule for the next Astute Class, Anson. We remain committed to delivering all seven Astute boats by the end of 2026. The Dreadnought programme is unaffected and remains on track for the first of the Dreadnought class submarines to enter service in the early 2030s. The planned in-service dates for Royal Navy submarines are withheld as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces. The schedule for dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines is unaffected. Work to determine the future infrastructure requirements at Devonport is continuing and is unaffected by the delay to the delivery of Audacious.
Caroline Lucas also asked what assessment he has made of the effect of the delay in the delivery of HMS Audacious on the cost of extending the service lives of Trafalgar-class submarines.
Answer from James Heappey MP: We do not routinely release planning assumptions for submarine availability as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces. There are no additional costs over those which are currently planned.