A LANCASHIRE based aerospace and armaments manufacturer says its Dreadnought nuclear submarine programme will support over 13,000 jobs.

BAE Systems, which has plants in Samlesbury and Warton as well as further afield in Barrow, estimates that it will spend around £7.5 billion nationwide on the programme, which aims to build four Dreadnought-class ballistic nuclear missile submarines, with £400 million already spent in the North West.

The money has been spent on power systems and sensors with the company claiming that this has supported 13,500 jobs across its North Western operations.

BAE submarines managing director Steve Timms said: “The Dreadnought programme is delivering critical sovereign defence capability that is fundamental to our national security and makes an important contribution to the country’s economic prosperity.

“It will sustain thousands of jobs and generate billions of pounds of investment into the middle of the next decade, benefitting every region of the UK."

BAE Systems will be working with partners Rolls-Royce and the Submarine Delivery Agency as part of the Dreadnought Alliance and estimates it will work with 1,500 supply chain companies over the life of the programme across the UK.

The company also plans to recruit new employees to support the delivery of Dreadnought with over 600 apprentices and 50 graduates currently in training in its submarines department, and a further 200 graduates and 1,500 apprentices to be recruited over the next five years.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The manufacture of nuclear weapons is controversial (Picture credit: PA)

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace MP said: “We maintain and develop the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent to counter the most extreme threats to the national security and way of life of both ourselves and our allies.

"This sovereign showcase in science and engineering highlights the prowess of British industry whilst investing billions into the economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and benefiting 1,500 companies across the four corners of the UK.”

However, the manufacture of new nuclear weapons has proved controversial, with disarmament campaigners pointing out that enormous destructive potential such weapons have, while also claiming that this contravenes the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1970.

In a statement, a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament spokesperson said: "The UK currently has around 200 warheads, but had previously announced a cap of 180 by the mid 2020s.

"It will now increase this cap to 260 warheads.

They added: "The real threats facing us today are painfully obvious to see, we should be using our resources to deal with actual problems such as climate change and the pandemic.

"We should not be spending billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction when investment is urgently needed in our NHS, education system and green jobs."