For five decades we have worked side-by-side with the Royal Navy to help keep our nation safe. At BAE Systems, we are proud of our heritage in manufacturing and engineering excellence, of our role in delivering the world’s most advanced and complex defence programmes and of the dedication, passion and innovation of our people.
Today, we remain as proud to work alongside the Royal Navy in defending our nation as we design, build and deliver the next class of deterrent submarines – Dreadnought. Below, you can read more about our heritage, our people, our use of technology, our contribution to the UK and the future of our business.

This is our story.



Delivering Dreadnought

Our Partnership

Our Pride

Our Technology


Our Skills


Our Heritage

The launch of HMS Resolution from Barrow in September 1966. Video provided courtesy of the North West Film Archive

Our partnership

We are proud of the role we play in enabling the UK’s Armed Forces to protect our country and nations around the globe.
The skills, experience, innovation and dedication of our people has played a critical role over many decades in providing core capability and support to our Armed Forces, including the Royal Navy. We are committed to serving those who serve and protect us and our continuing role is a source of great pride to our business.
By working in partnership to deliver on our commitments, we help our Armed Forces to safeguard the men and women who serve on the ships and submarines we design, build and support.
In the final part of our series to mark CASD50, we profile our partnership and our people with links to the Royal Navy. 

1: Life on board

CASD50 heritage
“Submarines have a habit of getting under your skin, especially when you are operating them at sea. It is something you feel quite passionate about.”

It may be a decade since Ian Lofthouse retired from the Royal Navy after a 35-year career as a submariner, but his memories of life on board are as fresh as ever.

After leaving the Navy in 2011, it was a natural decision for Ian to join our Submarines business – a move which has ensured he has remained close to some of the UK’s most advanced and complex programmes. Today he works as Head of Nuclear Discipline for the business, where he has seen first-hand the investment and development as the Dreadnought programme ramps up.

“What drove me here was the variety of responsibilities from day to day. The pace can seem as intense as when you are operating out at sea,” he says. “Even in the time I have been here, there have been massive changes to the structure of the site at Barrow.”

So as a former submariner, who was part of crews on the Trafalgar class, including HMS Trafalgar and HMS Triumph, and earlier on HMS Churchill and HMS Ocelot, what is life really like on board a submarine?

“The first time I would have dived would have been during general Naval training when I was on a diesel electric boat in 1977. The one thing that always stayed with me during my time in the Navy is that you can see submarines are designed to work so well under the water, not on the surface. All the time I was willing us to dive.
"There were some memorable occasions. In the late-1980s we were going into the middle of the Atlantic and finding that, even though we were deep underwater, we were getting thrown around because the weather was so bad. I was pretty glad we were in a submarine.”

Of course a big difference between then and now is connectivity. Modern life ensures people are constantly in touch. During the bulk of Ian’s career in the Navy, online communication was simply not a consideration. The written letter remained the main way to maintain contact with people back home, so he doesn’t believe he felt the lack of connectivity as keenly as the younger generation might.

In fact, he once received a mail drop of several letters numbered 1,2,3 and 5. Number 4 – which was the one which informed him he’d successfully bought a home - was missing and he only received it when he returned to his family.

Despite having left the Navy some time ago, his passion for submarines is unabated and his enthusiasm for our Submarines business likewise. The sheer variety of his role, focussed around people and development of nuclear skills and talents, and the depth of required understanding of what the business does is what motivates him every day.

“When you first go into the Devonshire Dock Hall, the first thing that hits you is the sheer scale,” he adds. “When you go in and all the units of the boat are there, it is really interesting to see people’s faces when they see it for the first time.”


Defence Secretary praises 50 years of service as new submarine is named





The Defence Secretary has announced the fourth Dreadnought submarine as HMS King George VI ahead of a special service at Westminster Abbey on May 3 to recognise the Royal Navy’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) over the past 50 years.

Since April 1969, a Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine has patrolled every single day, without interruption, providing the nation’s deterrent and helping keep the UK and our allies safe. This is the UK’s longest sustained military operation ever undertaken and is known as Operation Relentless.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Operation Relentless has seen generations of submariners from HMS Resolution to HMS Vengeance on constant watch, for every minute of every day for the last five decades. This is the longest military operation we have ever undertaken and continues right this minute deep under the sea. 

“We pay tribute to those incredible crews, their supportive families, the Royal Navy and the thousands of industry experts who will continue to sustain this truly national endeavour for many years to come.”

CASD50 provides a chance to not only remember the national endeavour of the past half century but to look to the next-generation of ballistic missile submarines, the Dreadnought class. This will consist of four boats helping to ensure the security of generations to come. The Dreadnought-class are expected to enter service in the early 2030s, helping to maintain Operation Relentless.


The Vanguard class will be replaced from 2028


Delivering Dreadnought

Week 5: Our future

03-07 June 2019
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Image taken from CASD50 technology video

Week 4: Our technology

27-31 May 2019
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Image showing a Vanguard class submarine at sea

Week 3: Our contribution to the UK

20-24 May 2019
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Image taken from the outside of the facility

Week 2: Our skills

13-17 May 2019
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HMS Resolution

Week 1: Our heritage

08-10 May 2019
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Neil Lauderdale
Head of Communications

+44 (0)1229 875714
+44 (0)7525 391013

Image showing Dreadnought submarine


Submarine programme
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