Babcock has been awarded a contract to support the design of the UK’s next generation Trident submarines, by providing through-life support expertise to ensure that the emerging design adequately considers and addresses in-service constraints and experience.
The contract is one of three announced by the MoD today, awarded to BAE Systems, Babcock and Rolls-Royce, worth a combined total of around £350 million.
The next generation ‘Successor’ submarines will replace the existing Vanguard class, and will help deliver a sustained nuclear deterrent well into the 2060s. The MoD has signed a collaborative agreement with the three key suppliers in the UK submarine industry (BAE Systems, Babcock and Rolls-Royce) to deliver the design phase of the Successor submarine programme, as part of the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme (SEPP).
Babcock has been involved in the programme from the outset. The contract being announced today provides a long term framework for Babcock’s involvement at tier 1 in the engineering of the new submarine.
Babcock’s role, as the recognised industry lead in submarine support, is to ensure that the cost, programme and technical risks to achieving the required submarine availability and performance when in-service are considered through the design and procurement process. The company undertakes the supportability engineering activities for the platform and major systems so that the requirements to enable effective and efficient through-life support are identified and met, as well as ensuring a smooth transition into service.
Commenting on this work, Babcock Director Integrated Management Services Andy Nicholls said: “The cost of design and procurement of a submarine is outweighed by the cost of its through-life support, and decisions taken early in the design phase will impact any platform throughout its lifecycle. These early phases, when the design remains fluid, represent by far the best opportunity to influence the design from the point of view of whole life cost, including maintenance and support as well as manufacture. The objective is to identify the impact of design decisions on supportability so as to optimise the balance between supportability, performance, unit production cost and cost of ownership.”
Approval of the early phase of design announced by the MoD in May 2011 ensures that, while the main build decision for the submarines will not be taken until 2016, more detailed design work will be undertaken and long-lead items ordered so that the first submarine could be delivered in 2028. The contracts being announced today by the MoD allow detailed design work on the general arrangement of the submarines to get underway.