Defence bosses have revealed the first glimpse at the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent today, publishing the first artist's impression of the submarines due to replace the Vanguard-class boats which carry Trident missiles.
The image was included on the cover of the second annual report to MPs about developments in the Successor Submarine programme.
The boats are designed to be amongst the stealthiest in the world and the image, created by the design team working on the new vessels, shows a submarine built with sweeping curves.
In the report to MPs, the Ministry of Defence announced it had agreed two contracts worth a total of £79 million to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines for initial work on the new vessels, which are due to be in service by 2028.
The items include structural fittings, electrical equipment, castings and forgings which must be ordered now, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said.
Mr Hammond said: "The Successor programme is supporting around 2,000 jobs and up to 850 British businesses could benefit from the supply chain as we exploit the most modern technologies, and employ a significant portion of the UK's engineers, project managers and technicians over the coming years."
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord, said: "The Royal Navy has been operating continuous at-sea deterrent patrols for more than 40 years and the Successor submarines will allow us to do so with cutting-edge equipment well into the future."
Both contracts, one of £47 million and another of £32 million, will be filled by workers in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The Ministry of Defence said the total number of MoD and industrial staff currently working on the Successor programme is around 2,000, with more than half working as engineers and designers.
More than 850 potential UK suppliers have so far been identified as benefiting from investment in the programme and as many as 6,000 people will be involved by the time that the construction reaches a peak.