Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines

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BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines, known as BAE Systems Submarine Solutions until January 2012, is a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, and is responsible for the development and production of submarines.

It operates one of the few shipyards in the world capable of designing and building nuclear submarines, which 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. The Barrow-in-Furness shipyard has also been building submarines since the Abdül Hamid was launched for the Ottoman Navy in 1886 and the Holland-class submarine for the Royal Navy was launched in 1901.

The shipyard was formerly operated by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering (VSEL). Upon the creation of BAE Systems in 1999, the submarine division became part of BAE Systems Marine.

As part of BAE Systems Marine, the yard constructed surface ships, such as the Albion-class landing platform docks. In 2003 however the company was split into BAE Systems Marine-Submarines and BAE Systems Marine-Naval Ships, with Barrow ceasing surface ship construction.

Since its completion in 1986, submarines at Barrow are constructed inside the Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH).

The company is currently constructing 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 Maritime-Submarines is also currently studying the design of a new class of ballistic missile submarines.

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