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Historic Name Returns as MOD Invests in Subs

Photo: HMS Artful, the third of the Royal Navy's Astute Class submarines. [All images Crown Copyright unless otherwise stated]


Britain’s Ministry of Defence has released details of a large investment into the Royal Navy’s submarine capability as the Secretary of State for Defence opened a new £100 million facility to outfit and test the new Dreadnought-class submarines.

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, was speaking at the home of British submarine construction, Barrow-in-Furness, and announced that £2.5 billion will be invested into Britain’s submarine capabilities, with £1.5 billion to be spent on constructing the seventh, and final, Astute-class nuclear fleet submarine.

Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, speaking at Barrow.

Williamson has also confirmed the seventh Astute-class boat will be named HMS Agincourt. Named after the battle fought in 1415, during the Hundred Years’ War, she will be the sixth Royal Navy vessel of that name.

The most recent use of the historically significant name was for a Battle-class destroyer that served between 1947 and 1972. Prior to that, there was a dreadnought battleship named Agincourt that fought in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and two third-rate ships of the line.

Williamson stated at the opening ceremony: “This multibillion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats. Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face.

The dreadnought, HMS Agincourt (1913) in Scapa Flow, 1918. Behind her are HM Ships Erin, Ajax, Centurion, and King George V. [Via USNNHHC]

The investment secures 8,000 jobs at the BAE Systems complex in Barrow-in-Furness, where the boats of the Astute-class have been built.

The construction of Agincourt is understood to have begun, while construction of HMS Dreadnought, lead vessel of her class of four submarines, set to move into its second phase. Meanwhile, the fourth boat of the Astute-class, Audacious, is currently undergoing sea trials and is expected to be commissioned in the Royal Navy this year.

HMS Astute in the Clyde.

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