3: A national endeavour
As well as expanding our world-class workforce to deliver the next-generation Dreadnought submarines, our business works with suppliers all across the UK, through the supply chain for the programme.
Some 85 percent of these are based in the UK, with substantial indirect economic effects as a result.
Over the course of the Dreadnought programme, the value of the supply chain is expected to reach £8-9 billion. More than 350 suppliers will be involved, with more than 100 suppliers already engaged.
Within our Submarines business as a whole, close to 5,000 suppliers across every region of the UK have been involved in our programmes in just a two year period between 2016 and 2018. Over the past five years, between 2014 and 2018, our company’s supply chain spend has been more than £3.1bn, with £746.8m of that coming in 2018 alone.
The history of submarine design and manufacture is rooted in the fabric of Cumbria, but our business is a truly national endeavour.
2: The power of collaboration
Today, our work on the Dreadnought programme represents one of the world’s most advanced engineering challenges and will mark a step change in submarine design and technology when the first in class enters service in the 2030s. Technological advances, threat changes, new methods of design and production mean the new submarines will be a completely new design.
We are proud to be the industrial lead on the programme, proud to support our submariners and proud to play a vital role in the delivery of this next generation deterrent.
It is through partnership and collaboration across industry, with the Submarine Delivery Agency and with the Royal Navy that we are able to deliver on our commitments. Click the video to hear our people talk about the part we are playing and the vital role of effective teamwork in delivery of Dreadnought.
1: Home comforts
The Dreadnought programme marks an undoubted step change in submarine engineering and technology. But as the first in class enters service in the 2030s, daily life on board the giant vessels may also be just a little different to what the time-served submariner is used to.
As part of the build, a huge amount of work has gone into making life underwater as comfortable as possible. Dreadnought will provide facilities over and above previous Royal Navy submarines, especially for keen readers and students.
A space that can be used as a classroom and study area will be built into each boat. Chefs will of course be part of the crewing complement. It is also the first Royal Navy submarine that will offer separate quarters, washing facilities and toilets for male and female crew members.
The amount of equipment on board is staggering, with many thousands of electrical items on board the ship powering every inch of each vessel, including a comprehensive lighting system.
Lighting and décor are part of an overall effort to ensure life on board is as ‘normal’ as possible – an attempt to separate ‘living’ areas from ‘working’ areas.
Anna Welch, Engineering Manager in Human Factors for our Submarines business, explains: “Submarines ultimately have to serve a warship function and as such they tend to be utilitarian spaces but we have to remember that they are not only a workplace, they are also home to our submariners for long periods of time and their downtime is equally as important as their watch-keeping hours. With this in mind we have worked to improve the accommodation spaces to make them feel more like home, increasing the emphasis on crew wellbeing.”
The working spaces on board Dreadnought will also have a different, sleeker feel – with many physical switches and buttons replaced with touch screen technology.
However, what won’t change is the connectivity back to dry land. Modern life is awash with social networking and constant screen time, ensuring we remain connected at all times. But that approach has never been conducive to operational life at sea. During a typical patrol, the submarine’s crew will remain cut off from the rest of the world except for short messages which can be sent by families each week. The submariners will remain unable to send messages back.