Britain’s biggest defence firm, BAE Systems, has won a nearly 4 billion Pounds contract to build a new generation of submarines as the security pact between the US, UK and Australia moves ahead.

In March, the three countries announced details of the so-called Aukus pact to provide Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines by the late 2030s.

The pact aims to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Beijing has strongly criticised the three countries over the deal.

BAE Systems Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said they’re incredibly proud of their role in the delivery of this vitally important, tri-nation submarine programme.

BAE said the funding will pay for development work to 2028, with manufacturing of the vessels expected to start towards the end of this decade.