Hope they get more contracts, it was sad to see the decline in our ship yards.
[SIZE=3]Alien submarine breaks technical barriers[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Brian Milligan [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Business reporter, BBC News, Barrow, Cumbria [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]The Astute is seen as the most advanced submarine yet[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2][*******#0000ff]Inside the submarine [/COLOR][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"It's a mean looking beast. I think it looks like the alien," remarks Chris Nelson of BAE Systems, as we walk round the front of the Royal Navy's new Astute submarine in Barrow. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Looming above us is a construction shed 12 stories high. Within it are three nuclear-powered submarines at different stages of construction. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]And as a huge, red neon sign reminds the workforce, the first one is now just 32 days away from launch. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]But to judge by the scaffolding[/SIZE][SIZE=2] surrounding it, it's hard to believe it's going to be ready on time. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"I'm determined it will be," says operations director Nigel Ward. "However it's a nuclear submarine, and lots of things can go wrong." [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Secrets intact [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Under all its covers, Astute is a technological phenomenon. Its nuclear reactor means it'll never need refuelling in the whole of its 25 year life. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Dummy missiles are used during the building work[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Since it makes its own air and water, it can circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]And its weapons systems are so accurate that were it positioned in the English Channel, its cruise missiles could pinpoint targets as far away as North Africa. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Indeed, down in the weapons room it looks like a Tomahawk cruise missile is already waiting to be loaded into one of the torpedo tubes. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"It's only a dummy," says the man who's keeping a close eye on us. His job is to stop us photographing anything that might give away some of Astute's secret capabilities. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Reduced requirements [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]It may be one of the most sophisticated submarines ever built, but the project has been beset with problems. The three submarines are £900m ($1.8bn) over budget and four years behind the original schedule. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Astute facts [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Cost: £3.5bn for three subs[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Weight: 7,800 tons[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Time to build: 6 years 4 months[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Power: pressurized water reactor, fuelled for life[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]But a new boss at Barrow, Murray Easton, introduced big changes when he arrived a few years back. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]A team of psychologists was brought into the yard to improve management effectiveness, and to create better ways of communication. Even now a psychologist is present at every board meeting. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Another big innovation, learnt from the America submarine-builder Electric Boat, was to build sections of the submarine vertically rather than horizontally. Equipment can be lowered in with the help of gravity, cutting the need for manpower dramatically. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Future missiles [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]It all leads to a prouder, more committed workforce.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]The building project is enormous[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"We needed help over Easter," says Nigel Ward, "and over 300 men volunteered to work, even though the weather forecast was good." [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Workers are also enthusiastic about what they have built.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"It's a fantastic product," says Andy Ogden as he stands near the conning tower of Astute. "And something the Navy will be extremely proud of when they get their hands on it in a year's time." Three-and-a-half thousand other workers have a vested interest in such customer satisfaction. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]Because if all goes according to plan, they'll be rewarded with contracts to build four more Astute submarines, and eventually the submarines that will carry the next generation of Britain's nuclear missiles. [/SIZE]
BBC News Online
Royal Navy - Astute Class Submarines
Hope they get more contracts, it was sad to see the decline in our ship yards.
Just recently BaE won a contract to supply Navantia with part of the pressure hulls for the new S-80 submarines.
BAE Systems Wins First Submarine Export Order for 20 Years02 May 2007 | Ref. 127/2007
Barrow, United Kingdom. – BAE Systems will supply a key part for the Spanish Navy’s new S80 submarine programme under a contract signed with Navantia SA of Spain. This is the first submarine export order in more than 20 years for the company.
BAE Systems Submarine Solutions will fabricate and assemble fore and aft pressure hull domes for four diesel-electric S80 submarines in its Barrow-in-Furness, shipyard under the terms of the multi million-pound agreement. BAE Systems will also provide technical support and assistance in aspects of pressure hull fabrication to Navantia as the overall S80 programme develops.
The domes will be manufactured using a £2 million 2,500 tonne dome press facility which will also be used to create the pressure hull domes for future Astute submarines. The press was purchased from former supplier Motherwell Bridge Steel in Scotland to secure the future supply of the pressure hull domes following the latter’s decision to cease manufacture of the domes. BAE Systems arranged for the massive press to be dismantled, refurbished and then rebuilt in the specialist steel-working facility at the Barrow shipyard.
BAE Systems Submarine Solutions has already begun work on the contract programme. The first two boat sets will be fully welded and completed in Barrow. The last two will be partly assembled and welded in Barrow, with final welding set to take place in Navantia’s facilities in Cartagena, Spain with support from BAE Systems Solutions as required.
Navantia group procurement president Jose Ramon said: “Navantia welcomes the support offered by BAE Systems, in particular their co-operative and collaborative approach.”
BAE Systems Submarines managing director Murray Easton, commented: “This contract marks a welcome return for us to the export market, although the Astute programme remains the primary focus for the yard.”
It is more than 20 years since the Barrow yard was involved in export work and the agreement with Navantia offers an opportunity for the business to capitalise on its non-nuclear submarine technology that has continued to develop in tandem with the development and construction of nuclear-powered vessels.
Simon Jones, head of commercial for future business, who led the bid to secure the Navantia agreement, said: “The depth of our knowledge and proven track record in submarine technology underpins why Navantia chose to work with us. A lot of effort has gone into ensuring the relationship with Navantia is not a traditional contractor/sub-contractor model.
“We are developing the basis of a long-term collaborative and co-operative relationship, equal in terms of responsibility and benefit. We see this sort of arrangement as the future basis for business arrangements in our respective markets. We believe it the agreement represents a very important progression in the international submarine industry sector.”
Navantia is the nationalised Spanish Naval shipbuilding industry and has shipyards in Cartagena, El Ferrol and Cadiz. It has the prime contract for four S80 2,400 tonne submarines for the Spanish Navy to be built in Cartagena. The S80 program could include up to eight submarines.
Awesome boats... But still, is this the way to go for Navies? Rising per-unit-costs caused by ever more maintainance-needy techniques decreases the number of ships that can be deployed... and, bluntly ignoring this trend, the oceans still remain as big as they ever were.
So what's the increase of endurance and deployabality of the Astutes over the current SSN's?
IIRC, they have a one-fill only reactor - basically the reactor lasts for the lifetime of the sub without needing to refuel. This means the sub needs only turn up at base to replen and routine maintenance ( and allow the sailors to blow everything in town !)
Given the large proportion of the Earth's surface covered by sea, I think the modern submarine remains an effective weapon! Well done BAE SYSTEMS.
I have to say, given the modern environment of defence contracting, 900mil over budget for three nuclear submarines seems pretty reasonable.
Looking at the title of this thread on the main forum index, I could only see "New British Submarine Breaks...", and I was shaking my head thinking "Hurray for modern engineering, they've broken down already".
How can a submarine makes his own air?
- by electrolysis to get Oxygen, ( but not of straight Seawater - that gives you Chlorine ). CO2 is removed by circulating the air in the sub through scrubbers.
[DW58] More information from official sources (MoD)
[SIZE=3]Countdown begins to Astute launch[/SIZE]
8 May 07
The Royal Navy's largest and most powerful attack submarine was unveiled today, Tuesday 8 May 2007, one month before its launch, and one year before it heads to its base port at HM Naval Base Clyde.
[Picture: Royal Navy]
HMS Astute, the first of her Class, is being built at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and will be launched on 8 June 2007. Although still shrouded in coverings to allow work to continue on applying more than 39,000 acoustic tiles, she is still an awesome sight, almost half again as big as the Royal Navy's current fleet of attack boats.
The tiles will mask her sonar signature and will make Astute the most stealthy attack submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy. However that's not the only amazing fact about what is a truly amazing submarine:
- She will never need to be refuelled – her one nuclear reactor has been designed to serve for the boat's 25 year operational life
- Despite her size, she can operate closer to shore, providing huge firepower for shore based operations
- Again, although she is bigger, she has a smaller crew – and for the first time, each crewman will get his own bed instead of hot-bunking
- Her design is more complex than the Space Shuttle
- She can circumnavigate the planet without surfacing – in fact, she is faster under water than on the surface
- Her captain sleeps only 10 metres away from her nuclear core – which is more complicated than a nuclear power station.
HMS Astute, the first of her Class, at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria
[Picture: Royal Navy]
Astute will be followed in a 22-month rolling programme by Ambush and Artful – at a total cost of £3.6 billion. All three, along with subsequent boats, will be based at HM Naval Base Clyde, where work has already started on the construction of a £150 million state-of-the-art jetty, named the Valiant Jetty, which will be home to the boats. HMS Astute is due to arrive at the Base next Easter after a year of trials (technically she does not become an HMS until after her formal launch).
The Astute Programme Director at HM Naval Base Clyde, Captain Peter Merriman, said:"Astute will be the largest, most capable and widely deployable attack submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy. She is designed to undertake a wide range of tasks, including support of land forces and land attack using Tomahawk cruise missiles."Specialist engineering involves:
Defence Internet News
- Nuclear engineering: providing safety and performance improvements to a state-of-the-art pressurised water reactor that is fuelled for life
- Systems engineering: integrating the thousands of sub-systems that require up to 100km of cabling, 23,000 pipes amounting to10km of pipework, and over 5 million lines of software code – plus managing the supply chain, which consists of over 30 main suppliers
- Marine and mechanical engineering: providing solutions for the propulsive power train, auxiliary systems and life support. Astute must be quiet, vibration free and robust enough to withstand a nearby underwater explosion
- Hydrodynamics and control engineering: the design of the submarine hull, hydroplanes and control systems to provide control of depth and good manoeuvrability. The submarine must maintain neutral buoyancy and is literally 'flown' underwater
- Human factors: ensuring that every system is safely operable and maintainable in all conditions by a relatively small complement compared with previous nuclear powered submarines.
There was also loss of design capability in the UK as we havent built a sub in years, so we had to re-learn some lessons - we bought in GD's Electric boat division to produce drawings using their advanced CAD techniques. This has helped us produce a better engineered hull than was previously possible. Unfortunately, we should have engaged them earlier on. That way we would have avoided some expensive design overruns.
DW faster on the gun than I !
[SIZE=2]A team of psychologists was brought into the yard to improve management effectiveness, and to create better ways of communication. Even now a psychologist is present at every board meeting.[/SIZE]
Astute rocks though!