Defence Update: Rolls Royce Secures Submarine Contract

Image Credit: Rolls-Royce

The UK Government, with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, has awarded Rolls-Royce Submarines with a £235m contract to support nuclear propulsion systems for the Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines. They have also revealed the name of the third Dreadnought submarine that will add to their already powerful naval defence. It is called HMS Warspite in memory of the last ‘great ship’ built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

As the contract stipulates, Rolls-Royce will deliver the required support, advice and materials to ensure the safety of the propulsion systems. The multi-million-pound deal relates to the current Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute class submarine fleet until 2022. The contract will also help sustain approximately 500 jobs in the UK mainly in Derby, HMNB Clyde and HMNB Devonport.


Rolls-Royce And The UK Defence Sector

Within the Rolls-Royce submarines business, there are more than 1,300 engineers who play vital roles in design and support. Because of the strong partnership with Rolls-Royce, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded them a contract in 2012 to continue operating and maintaining the core manufacturing facility at Raynesway in Derby.

Signalling further commitment to the submarine programme, the MoD and Rolls-Royce signed a ten-year Foundation Contract in 2013. It aimed at cost savings of up to £200 million providing nuclear propulsion systems for the UK’s existing and future submarine fleet.

Pioneering The Future

Rolls-Royce is the pioneers of one of the world’s most important technological advances which is using nuclear propulsion for the Royal Navy’s submarines. They are the UK’s Technical Authority for the Nuclear Steam Raising Plant which means managing all aspects of plant design, safety, manufacturing and through-life support.

Their role involves working closely with the Ministry of Defence to ensure the maximum benefits of the submarine programme. This includes factors such as improving affordability, reliability, availability, and overall sustainability.

The Dreadnought Programme With BAE Systems

In December 2018, Defence Secretary Williamson announced funding of £400m for the Dreadnought programme while working alongside a £25m BAE Systems academy for upskilling employees working on Royal Navy submarines. The £31bn Dreadnought programme will ensure the continued protection and defence that the UK’s nuclear deterrent provides well into the future. The Dreadnought Class submarines are set to enter service in the 2030s.

Ian Booth, CEO of the Submarine Delivery Agency, said: “This contract is vital to enable the continued safety and readiness of the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines, and its signing demonstrates the ongoing successful partnership between the Submarine Delivery Agency and industry.”

Food For Thought

As Steve Dearden, Rolls-Royce Submarines President said: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrence and the 60th year of Rolls-Royce involvement in the naval nuclear propulsion programme. The NPLM contract will enable the continuation of our close work with the SDA to deliver Submarine operations for the Royal Navy.”

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson said: “This year, we mark half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began their continuous patrol of waters around the world. This significant milestone for the Royal Navy would not be possible without the skills and ingenuity of our industry partners who supply and maintain equipment. Rolls-Royce plays a critical role in supporting our submarines and I’m pleased this contract will sustain 500 highly skilled jobs that help protect our country.”

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