NWI - Naval Warfare

BAE Systems wins £1.2 billion for fourth Astute submarine

10th December 2012 - 15:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth £1.2bn for Audacious, the fourth submarine in the Astute class. Audacious is the fourth of seven Astute Class submarines being built for the Royal Navy, with the first two boats, Astute and Ambush, currently undergoing sea trials to rigorously test their systems.

According to the MoD, the Astute Class submarines are the most technologically advanced the Royal Navy has ever sent to sea and offer a step change in capability. Astute has conducted deep dive trials and successfully fired Tomahawk land attack missiles and Spearfish torpedoes.

The MoD also confirmed today that a further £1.5bn has been committed to the Astute programme for the remaining three submarines in the class, which includes early build work on boat 5, Anson, whose keel was laid in October, 2011.        
John Hudson, BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines managing director John Hudson, said: ‘This is a very significant milestone for the company as it provides increased stability for the remainder of the programme. More than 5,000 people are employed at Submarines with over half of these directly involved in the Astute programme, many in highly skilled, specialist positions, so today’s announcement is hugely welcomed. 
 
‘The Astute class will deliver to the Royal Navy a fantastic attack submarine capability and both HMS Astute and Ambush are currently demonstrating this while on their sea trials. Audacious, and the rest of the submarines in the Astute class, will eventually complement those already at sea.’

Audacious will include a number of design changes to the first three submarines in the Astute class. Most relate to the submarine’s combat system – primarily its command, navigation and sonar systems. For the first time on a Royal Navy submarine this will use a shared computer environment for the different systems, common consoles and cabinets, and commercial off-the-shelf hard and software, making the system more cost effective and easier to maintain and update.

According to BAE Systems, these changes are due to be implemented on the remaining submarines in the class, and have been back-fitted to Boat 3, Artful. The eventual aim is to back-fit the Common Combat System to HMS Astute and Ambush, and progressively to the rest of the Royal Navy submarine fleet.

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