Farnborough company awarded £1.2bn sub contractBy Tim Harris
December 18, 2012
FARNBOROUGH-based company BAE Systems has been awarded a contract worth £1.2 billion to build an attack submarine for the navy.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has this week confirmed BAE, whose headquarters are based in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Aerospace Boulevard, has been given the high value contract for HMS Audacious.
The contract for the 97-metre submarine covers the design, build, test and commissioning programme.
HMS Audacious is the latest attack submarine in the Astute Class to be built for the Royal Navy and will be the fourth of seven vessels.
The submarine is being constructed at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where all her pressure hull units have been assembled.
When completed, the sonar system aboard Audacious will have the processing power of 2,000 laptops and will be able to track ships 3,000 miles away.
The submarine will be armed with both Tomahawk land attack missiles and Spearfish torpedoes, with a missile target range of 1,200 miles, with accuracy measured in metres.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP said: “This contract marks an important step forward in the progress of our attack submarine programme.
“It moves the Royal Navy closer to adding more of these highly advanced and powerful attack submarines to its fleet.
“This funding demonstrates our commitment to a key Royal Navy capability.”
John Hudson, submarines managing director for BAE Systems Maritime, added: “This is a very significant milestone for the company.”
The MoD said the Astute Class submarines are ‘the most technologically advanced the Royal Navy has ever sent to sea’.
The first two submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are currently undergoing sea trials to test their systems.
Astute has conducted deep dive trials and has successfully fired Tomahawk missiles and Spearfish torpedoes.
Ambush has successfully passed tests for her ability to dive and surface, plus tests for her propulsion system.
Both submarines have undergone trials on the River Clyde.
The third submarine, Artful, is reaching the final stages of construction at Barrow shipyard.
“The Astute Class will become the jewel in the crown of the Royal Navy’s submarine service,” said Rear Admiral Simon Lister, director of submarines for the MoD.
“The Astute Class boasts much greater firepower and more advanced sonar and communications than ever before. These submarines represent a huge leap forward in technology and will operate all over the world with the Royal Navy.
“These boats provide the optimum capability a submarine can offer in land strike, strategic intelligence gathering, anti-submarine and surface ship warfare, and protection of the strategic deterrent.”
The MoD has also confirmed that a further £1.5bn has been committed to the remaining three submarines in the class. The fifth submarine will be HMS Anson.