LONDON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The U.K. Ministry of Defense has announced a $289 million package to support the design work for the Royal Navy's next generation of nuclear submarines.
The funding will be used by BAE Systems to design a submarine to replace the Royal Navy's fleet of Vanguard-class submarines. BAE Systems will design the layout of the new vessel's equipment and systems, plan the manufacturing process, and produce early prototypes.
In addition to BAE Systems, design work will also include personnel from Babcock International, Rolls-Royce, as well as other suppliers from small and medium-sized businesses.
The Defense Ministry maintains the new vessel will be one of the stealthiest submarines in the world, and also the most technically advanced submarine built in the U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the new vessel is a response to a changing national security environment.
"When there are 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, we can't wish away threats we face now and those that may emerge in the 2030s, 2040s, and 2050s," Fallon said in a statement.
The Defense Ministry's Successor submarine program is part of the recently passed $4.7 billion defense spending package. The Royal Navy plans to replace four of its Vanguard-class submarines in the early 2030s.