Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Britain's third dreadnought-class nuclear submarine will be named the HMS Warspite, the defense secretary announced on Monday.
Secretary Gavin Williamson revealed the name as he toured a Rolls-Royce Submarines power plant facility in Raynesway, England.
Williamson also formally awarded a $307 million contract for Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute-class submarine power plants, according to BAE.
"This year we mark half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began their continuous patrol of waters around the world," Williamson said. "This significant milestone for the Royal Navy would not be possible without the skills and ingenuity of our industry partners who supply and maintain equipment."
The newest submarine is expected to see service in the early 2030s, and will be the eighth Royal Navy ship to carry the name Warspite, dating to 1595 and the flagship of Sir Walter Raleigh. The dreadnaught class, which will carry Trident II D-5 missiles, is the planned replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines.
Construction of the first in class, the HMS Dreadnaught, began in 2016. The second will be named the Valiant. All the submarines in the Dreadnaught program are expected to receive names with historic significance.
"Like her sister submarines, the name Warspite has a highly distinguished lineage," Adm. Philip Jones, First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, said in a lengthy thread on Twitter. He said that the most recent vessel with the name was Britain's third nuclear submarine, commissioned in 1967. That submarine, in use for 24 years during the Cold War, has a history largely hidden in secrecy.
The program replaces four Vanguard-class submarines to maintain what what the Royal Navy calls a continuous at-sea deterrent, the principle of operation behind the Trident missile system.
There can be no doubt that the name Warspite is a highly distinguished capital ship name, and entirely befitting one of our future SSBNs - submarines that for generations to come will maintain our solemn duty as the ultimate guarantor of our nation's security. pic.twitter.com/K6XDFKgG7p— First Sea Lord (@AdmPhilipJones) February 25, 2019