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Continuous 
At Sea Deterrent

Our heritage
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrent - CASD50 - the longest unbroken operation ever delivered by the UK. It is known as Operation Relentless. Below, you'll find the stories we shared during Week 1.
 

Our Heritage

 
 

4: A proud tradition

 
HMS Dreadnought S101
 
When the first of the new Dreadnought class submarines – HMS Dreadnought – comes into service in the 2030s it will represent another proud achievement for our people and another piece of maritime history for BAE Systems and our partners.

From initial design through to build and characteristics and capabilities, HMS Dreadnought and the vessels which come after her will represent a new level of technology and engineering complexity.

For our new influx of talent, particularly our apprentices, the chance to work on Dreadnought represents the opportunity to play a role in development and construction of one of the most advanced pieces of engineering the UK has to offer and one of the most complex challenges of its kind in the world.

For many others who have spent their careers at Barrow, the name Dreadnought may well bring back fond memories of another piece of history at the site. 59 years ago this year, the Queen visited the town to mark the launch of the UK's first nuclear-powered submarine – the previous HMS Dreadnought.

Dreadnought was the epitome of the modern hunter submarine. Bearing the pennant number S101, HMS Dreadnought was 81 metres long and boasted a crew of 113 submariners. She made her first dive in January 1963 and was commissioned in April the same year.

HMS Dreadnought was decommissioned in 1980, but the name will continue to live on through the next class of ballistic submarines. In fact, the first of these will be the 10th Royal Navy vessel to bear the Dreadnought name. News that the first in class was to be called Dreadnought was announced on Trafalgar Day in 2016 - another deliberate nod to history and the start of another age for our Submarines business.
 
 

3: Standing together

 
 
Our heritage CASD50
 
 
Whilst this year marks 50 years of Operation Relentless, our modern day work supporting the submariners of the Royal Navy is the continuation of a lasting bond which began some 130 years ago.

Many of our people within our Submarines business today served with the Royal Navy before joining BAE Systems, where they have continued to work on and support a number of world-leading programmes - including the Trafalgar and Vanguard classes and now Astute and Dreadnought. Others have spent decades with our business and are now working alongside generations of their families on the most complex and advanced engineering challenges ever undertaken.
 
Click the video to hear our people talk about their pride in supporting the Royal Navy.
 

 

2: Behind the walls...

 
Devonshire Dock Hall - then and now
 
The seaside town of Blackpool, in the North West of England, is hardly short of well-known features. But from the middle of its central Promenade, another large landmark stands in the distance.

Despite being more than 20 miles away, the Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH) at our Barrow site is clearly visible. The DDH is the tallest building in Cumbria and covers an area of more than 25,000 square metres, about six acres, making it the second biggest indoor shipbuilding complex of its kind in Europe.

Officially opened by then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in September 1986, it is built on the site of the original Devonshire Dock. In total, 2.8 million tonnes of sand from Morecambe Bay were brought in to fill in the Dock ahead of construction. Its shiplift, which is 162 metres long and 22 metres wide, is capable of lifting 23,000 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 20 large passenger airliners. 

But most importantly, over its near-33 year history, it has been home to construction of some of the most advanced submarines ever built – feats of incredible engineering for the submariners of the Royal Navy.

Among them, the Vanguard class of submarines, which were built between 1986 and 1999, first introduced as part of Operation Relentless in 1994, and which are in service today with the Royal Navy.  They will be replaced by the introduction of the Dreadnought class from the 2030s.
 
Meanwhile, the Astute class programme has been the latest to come through the DDH. The seven Astute submarines are designed and engineered to be the stealthiest of their type, equipped with the latest and most powerful sonar suite and secure communications facilities, but with a low noise signature and optimum detection avoidance characteristics.
 
Astute class submarines have the capability to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing once. In fact, they are limited only by their food storage capacity. Able to deploy rapidly, they are powered by a nuclear reactor that can run for their 25 year lifespan without refuelling.
 
We are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in partnership with the Royal Navy. Over the last 30-plus years, the DDH has played its part in that story – and will continue to do so for decades to come.
 
Inside the Devonshire Dock Hall

of

The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
The Devonshire Dock Hall
The Devonshire Dock Hall, BAE Systems, Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
 

 

1: The dawn of a new age

 
Our Heritage The launch of HMS Resolution from Barrow in September 1966. Video provided courtesy of the North West Film Archive
Video provided courtesy of the North West Film Archive
 
It was a single, simple gesture.
 
On the edge of a vast slipway, overlooked by a huge, expectant crowd of workers, locals and submariners on the edge of the estuary to the Irish Sea, a solitary pull of a lever launched an icon of maritime history and started a chain of events which would usher in a new era in the vital protection of Britain’s shores.
The visit of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, to Barrow-in-Furness on 15 September 1966 was understandably the cause of great excitement among the workers at what was then the Vickers Armstrong site.

This was no ordinary ceremonial visit, no ordinary occasion. Against a backdrop of crowds of people young and old, waving the Union flag to the sound of a marching band, the Royal visitor was there to officially launch HMS Resolution – the UK’s first ballistic missile submarine. Two years and eight months after its maiden launch, Resolution would set out on continuous patrol, starting what has become the longest ever unbroken military operation in the UK – and a new chapter in one of the most enduring industry/Armed Forces partnerships in the world.

Fifty years later, the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent operation – Operation Relentless – is ongoing. Today, BAE Systems’ site at Barrow is developing the Navy’s third generation of cutting-edge deterrent submarines. The Dreadnought class, the first of which will enter service in the 2030s, is being built within hundreds of millions of pounds of new facilities at Barrow, utilising state-of-the-art technology that those stood overlooking the slipway in 1966 could only have dreamed of.
 
HMS Resolution

Those who remember the excitement of the packed yards of decades gone by, those who have honed their own skills on the current Vanguard submarines, are now working alongside their children and grandchildren – the next generation of the brightest talent, inspired to work on one of the most complex and advanced engineering challenges ever undertaken.

Yet whilst the Dreadnought programme, which BAE Systems is leading alongside Rolls-Royce and the Submarine Delivery Agency, is transformational in its design and complexity, it also builds on those decades of experience, skill and know-how, of engineering and manufacturing excellence first honed in the 1960s when our business at Barrow built the very first of its kind.
 
HMS Resolution was ordered in May 1963. Built by Vickers Armstrong at a cost of £40.2m, the keel was laid down on 26 February 1964 by the Director General Ships, Sir Alfred Sims. She was launched in September 1966.

HMS Resolution was commissioned on 2 October 1967, and following extensive trials commenced her first patrol on 15 June 1968. Continuous patrols began in April 1969 as the remaining R-boats – Repulse (also built in Barrow), Renown and Revenge – entered service.

Between them the four conducted 229 deterrence patrols until they were retired in the 1990s, when the much larger V-boats – HMS Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance – replaced them. As they themselves now approach the end of their operational lives, attention turns to the third generation of deterrent submarines, which will ensure the continuation of Operation Relentless to its 100 year anniversary.
 

 

Introduction

 

Andrew Wolstenholme,

Group Managing Director, Maritime and Land - BAE Systems
 
Innovation, partnership and enabling our Armed Forces to protect what matters most are at the heart of everything we do.
 
As the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy prepare to mark 50 years of Continuous At Sea Deterrent, I can think of no finer example of the role our people play, alongside generations of submariners, their families and industry partners, in sustaining military operations and protecting nations.

In 1969, HMS Resolution began its first deterrent patrol, having been launched almost three years earlier. In the 50 years since, there has always been a Royal Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine as sea - consecutively and uninterrupted.  This has been delivered by two classes of submarines at the leading edge of capability and technology, with all but two built in Barrow by generations of BAE Systems employees working hand in glove with the Royal Navy.

A number of colleagues at our Barrow site may remember HMS Resolution’s launch. Certainly there are many who worked on the Vanguard class, which is currently helping defend and protect our nation’s interests. Those same colleagues are now working on the next generation of deterrent – the Dreadnought class, and it is testament to their unique skills and dedication that we at BAE Systems are able to deliver cutting edge capability to the Royal Navy, helping them stay ahead of the ever evolving and complex threat.

Working alongside, and being inspired by, our current skilled and dedicated workforce, it is especially exciting to see the next generation of apprentices, the new wave of talent, joining our business to take part in the design and manufacture of some of the most complex and advanced engineering challenges undertaken anywhere in the world.

‎‎Thanks to our investment in a state-of-the-art training academy at Barrow, which opened its doors last year, they will develop their skills and begin their careers equipped with the very best tools, innovations and world-leading manufacturing techniques industry has to offer.

I have the privilege of ‎leading our Maritime and Land businesses across the UK, where every day I see examples of people striving to give their very best possible for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Continuously improving and collaborating to achieve excellence.
 
Over the coming month both the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy will commemorate the 50 years of service ‎given by the Royal Navy, supported by industry, that underpins the UK's Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

Andrew Wolstenholme

, Group Managing Director, Maritime and Land - BAE Systems

As we reflect on the past and present, we look forward to many more decades of delivering critical capability where it counts. Whatever future challenges emerge, our business and our people will be doing our job so they can do theirs.