to develop tactical weapons handling and launch for UK's future SSBN
has been awarded a contract for the system definition (SD) of the tactical
weapons handling and launch system (WHLS) and submerged signal ejector
(SSE) for the UK's future strategic nuclear deterrent, the Vanguard
head of Vanguard class SSBN, the current class of Royal Navy SSBN
set to be replaced around 2024 by a new class of SSBN
(Picture: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright)
has been working on the WHLS and SSE system concepts for some four years.
In delivering the SD contract the company will be providing a solution
to the technical requirement that combines proven technologies with
a number of innovative features, and will build on previous experience
including the Astute programme and feedback from its in-service support
role, to deliver this programme to cost, quality and schedule.
While building on its previous WHLS and SSE products for aspects such
as weapon alignment and shock mounting and the air turbine pump (ATP)
and firing air system, Babcock will be incorporating new features such
as vertical embarkation, modular torpedo launch tubes and stowages (to
provide a pre-assembled solution that can accelerate installation times
during build and reduce overall assembly costs), and a weapon loading
mechanism that allows weapons to be loaded from both tiers using the
same mechanism. Further developments include an improved launch control
system which will provide a flexible, future-proof system, for example.
Where new designs and technologies are being introduced, Babcock plans
to reduce risk through prototype testing, additional modelling and analysis.
Babcock Defence Systems Technology Director Jeff Lewis commented: “We
will be delivering this contract based on a realistic, achievable schedule
(aligned to the Successor integrated master schedule and validated against
Babcock’s experience in previous similar projects); a design solution
that has been through a thorough concept design and review process and
is fully integrated into the submarine design; and a good understanding
of the risks, which have been minimised by the concept design phase.
We will be looking throughout to apply our experience to reduce risk
and provide greater confidence in schedule adherence, as well as driving
out cost of development and minimising through-life cost of the WHLS
and SSE, and hence of the overall platform.”