Problems with the Astute Class submarine are now so severe that the MoD and BAE are reviewing the entire programme including the possibility of scrapping the final three orders. Last week it was revealed that problems in the testing and commissioning phase of the first submarine had delayed the start of sea trials and ultimately delivery to the Royal Navy by several months. It has since been reported that problems with certain electrical components have arisen along with a shortage of parts for the nuclear attack submarines. The project has been inundated by cost overruns in excess of Â£2bn, severe delays and bickering between the MoD and BAE over who should pay the additional expenses. A spokesperson for BAE confirmed on Sunday that the troubled project is now under review "to determine how best to minimise the impact on the programme. A formal announcement will be made at the appropriate time." The review comes at a bad time for both parties, leading some to speculate that the final number of submarines that are ordered will be minimised. Procurement officials at the ministry have been under intense pressure to make cuts to several high profile programmes in an effort to solve the Â£2bn procurement deficit the MoD faces over the next three years. The troubled Astute programme was to have originally produced 12 submarines. The MoD has only confirmed the orders for six, with a seventh being a distinct possibility as well. But sources close to the programme can reveal that there is a very realistic possibility that the MoD will now have to consider only ordering the four submarines currently under construction. BAE is alleged to be having trouble filling their workforce at their naval yard in Barrow. Officials close to the programme have told Defence Management in the past that not enough young people are interested in taking on highly skilled apprenticeships and that jobs like naval architects and engineers are not as appealing as they once were. The cost of the first three Astutes has ballooned to Â£3.8bn, almost the equivalent of the two new aircraft carriers. The MoD is also moving money out of the programme to begin funding the Trident replacement.