Babcock to Design SSE for UK’s Future Ballistic Nuclear Sub

Babcock to Design SSE for UK’s Future Ballistic Nuclear Sub

Babcock has been contracted by BAE Systems to work on a new design for the Submerged Signal Ejector (SSE) for the UK’s future ballistic nuclear submarine (SSBN).

Following the contract awarded to Babcock last autumn for the system definition of the future submarine’s tactical weapons handling and launch system (WHLS) and SSE, this latest contract (which follows a successful concept review) now covers the development of a new (Mk12) SSE design up to System Design Phase.

The new Mk12 SSE will combine proven technologies with a number of innovative features, and is being designed to accommodate the platform-specific performance and technical requirements of the future submarine. The modular design of the SSE will also allow its manufacturing schedule to be decoupled from the submarine build schedule.

Babcock Defence Systems Technology Director Jeff Lewis explains: “The challenge is to develop a design that not only meets the current technical specification requirements for the new submarine, but also the affordability challenges.

The SSE is a key safety item. While its primary function is to support submarine escape and rescue, it is a first level system which also fulfils a number of other key operational functions. The requirement is for a solution with a low technical risk and the Mk12 SSE will build on our knowledge and experience in previous SSE designs for in-service submarines while meeting the more challenging Vanguard Replacement Programme performance criteria. We will be applying our experience to drive out cost of development and minimise through-life cost, and delivering a design solution that has been through a thorough concept design and review process and is fully integrated into the submarine design.”

Babcock has extensive experience in SSE design and has been involved in the design, manufacture and support for the SSE systems on all UK submarines. The company has provided WHLS and SSE design, initial acquisition and through-life support to the MoD submarine programmes for the Upholder, Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute classes.

Babcock is continually developing its SSE designs to ensure that reliability and performance are at the highest possible levels. Its use of modular SSE design helps to minimise cost and maximise adaptability with minimum modification, while its designs also incorporate innovative safety features, can undergo significant levels of shock qualification, and can continue to operate after failure of primary power supplies.

Babcock has been involved in the future submarine programme from the outset, and is one of the MoD’s Tier 1 contractors working on the engineering design of the new submarine, under a collaborative agreement with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Babcock is providing through-life support expertise to ensure that the emerging design adequately considers and addresses in-service constraints and experience, for a smooth transition into service and efficient and effective through-life support.

Press release, October 4, 2013; Image: UK DoD