British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, is understood to be trying to establish a more decisive role for the British Treasury in the construction of the Royal Navy’s new ballistic missile submarines to replace the ageing Trident-equipped Vanguard-class. Critics have pointed out that the Ministry of Defence has a poor track record in the delivery of major projects highlighting the delayed and cost-overrun Astute-class submarine project.
The government is expected to announce the formation of a new special new authoritative body that will be put in charge of the ten year project to replace the four submarines with the new Successor-class. The chancellor wants to guarantee that the two main contractors, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, meet a strict 10-year timetable that would allow the Royal Navy to replace the Vanguard-class by 2028.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is expected to set a price for replacing the Trident fleet when he publishes the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR 2015) on November 23rd. The Successor-class is due to cost up to £40bn and MPs will be asked to approve the “maingate” phase of the project next year.