Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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BAE Systems Marine

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The shipyard at Barrow in Furness was operated by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering until 1999.

This is one the few shipyards in the world capable of designing and building nuclear submarines. It has been building submarines since the Abdül Hamid was launched for the Ottoman Navy in 1886 and the Holland-class submarine for the Royal Navy which was launched in 1901.

The yard has constructed all but three of the Royal Navy's nuclear-powered submarines since the commissioning of HMS Dreadnought in 1963. The exceptions were HMS Conqueror, HMS Renown and HMS Revenge, which were built by Cammell Laird.

1986 The Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH) at Barrow in Furness was completed; since then all submarines constructed at Barrow have been built inside the DDH.

1999 Upon the creation of BAE Systems, the submarine division of VSEL became part of BAE Systems Marine. Fabrication of an oiler for the Royal Navy started at BAE Systems' Govan yard; blocks had been made at Barrow to start construction of such vessels. Work also on various type of submarine.

1999 The 4th and final Trident submarine was completed. Work on the 2nd Landing Platform Dock assaut ship was started for the MoD.

As part of BAE Systems Marine, the yard constructed surface ships, such as the Albion-class landing platform docks.

2003 the company was split into BAE Systems Marine - Submarines and BAE Systems Marine - Naval Ships, with Barrow ceasing surface ship construction.

2003 BAE Systems split its ship and submarine building operations - the VSEL unit became an independent division known as BAE Systems Submarines.

2007 This business was renamed BAE Systems Submarine Solutions in January 2007.

2012 The business was renamed BAE Systems Marine - Submarines, based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England; it is responsible for the development and production of submarines.

The company constructs the Astute-class submarine, a new generation of nuclear attack submarine (SSN) for the Royal Navy, the first of which was launched on 8 June 2007. The order for the initial batch of three ships was placed in 1997 with Marconi Marine (VSEL), which was absorbed into BAE Systems in 1999. BAE Systems Marine-Submarines is also currently studying the design of a new class of ballistic missile submarines.


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