BARROW, England, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A possible future British defense secretary is backing the Astute nuclear attack sub program.
Liam Fox, a member of Parliament for the opposition Conservative Party and the Conservative shadow secretary of state for defense, "praised the skills and dedication of workers at the BAE Systems Barrow shipyard ... during a visit to see progress on the Astute submarine program," BAE Systems said in a statement last week.
BAE Systems said Fox discussed the program with the company's Submarine Solutions Managing Director Murray Easton and union representatives and then toured the giant 25,000 square meter Devonshire Dock Hall where the submarines are being constructed.
“Seeing one of the submarines up close gives you a real feel for the engineering excellence which is evident here in Barrow and the dazzling complexity of the project which is absolutely awe inspiring," Fox said.
“One often looks at our Armed Forces’ equipment purely in operational terms, without considering the industrial ingenuity and skill which goes into creating that equipment," he said.
BAE Systems said the Astute nuclear powered attack submarine would "be the most advanced vessel of its kind ever deployed by the Royal Navy when it enters service in 2009, and has been described as a more complex engineering challenge than the space shuttle. Four Astute class submarines are currently being built at the Barrow shipyard."
"After a tour on board the second Astute-class vessel, Ambush, whose hull is now almost complete, Fox said he was hugely impressed by the scale of the project, and praised the evident enthusiasm and commitment of the workforce, which, he said, it would be great to see reflected across the whole country," BAE Systems said.