2 March 2017
A new £4.3 million (US$5.3 million) submarine training base will be built on the Clyde River in Scotland to prepare the next generation of nuclear and hunter-killer submarines, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced.
The base will be used to prepare submariners for warfare duties from 2022 and HMNB Clyde will house the entire Royal Navy submersible fleet by 2020.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon insisted the move, which is part of a broader expansion of the base, would be of direct benefit to the Scottish economy.
The MoD said the number of employees at the base would rise from 6,800 to 8,200 over the next few years. They will be tasked with supporting current and future boats, including the forthcoming Dreadnaught nuclear-armed submarines.
The head of the submarine service, Rear Admiral John Weale, said the new “single integrated operating base” would make “significant improvements to the work-life balance of our 5,000 submariners.”
“By putting our boats and training in one place, our submariners can put down roots in Scotland knowing that they are no longer required to commute from one end of the country to another.”
The investment is also likely aimed at defusing the risk of another independence vote in Scotland in the wake of the Brexit vote and considerable opposition to having nuclear arms on Scottish soil.
As recently as Tuesday, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon warned that unless Scotland could reach a special accord with the EU over Brexit a second referendum would appear “legitimate, almost necessary.”