WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The U.K. Ministry of Defense has awarded BAE Systems a $1.98 billion contract to deliver the fifth Astute-class attack submarine.
The contract covers both design and manufacturing for Anson, the fifth of seven planned Astute-class submarines. Work on Anson began in 2010, and is now at an advanced phase of construction. The company expects the attack submarine to begin sea trials in 2020.
"This is a hugely complex national endeavour and we are proud of the role we play in helping to protect our nation's interests," BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director Tony Johns said in a statement.
Astute-class attack submarines are the Royal Navy's largest and most technologically advanced submarines. Displacing 7,400 tons at sea with a top speed of 30 knots, the 318-foot vessel comes equipped with Spearfish anti-submarine torpedoes, and anti-air Thomahawk IV sea-launched missiles. Spearfish torpedoes are capable of hitting a target up to 14 miles away.
The vessels will be used for land strikes, strategic intelligence gathering, and both anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare.