BAE Systems Designs New Technology for Future UK Submarines

BAE Systems and scientists from The Open University have worked together to design new atmosphere monitoring technology for the UK’s future submarine programme, based on lessons learned from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission.

The analyser continuously monitors the precarious environmental atmospheres found on-board submarines and is capable of analysing dozens of gas species simultaneously with a response time of less than a minute. This new atmosphere analyser far exceeds the capabilities of the current system and shares many of the attributes of the instrument that recently landed on a comet. It needed to be much smaller and lighter than the current system and work in extreme environments, yet remain robust and operate for long periods with minimal human interaction.

The proven prototype analyser is now being developed for manufacture by Analox Military Systems after it was awarded a £1million contract from BAE Systems. The final system will offer a significant increase in performance, improved reliability and lower procurement and through-life costs.

Mark Scaife, an Engineering Manager at BAE Systems Submarines said: “Nuclear submarines are amongst the most complex machines ever devised, patrolling a hostile environment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in some of the most remote places known to man. The Atmosphere Analyser is capable of giving real-time readings to crews so they can react quickly to any dangerous build-up of gases, an invaluable safeguard and one that can potentially save lives.”

Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor of The Open University said: “The project is a great example of how the expertise and know-how of the best research groups in British Universities can be harnessed by British industry and Government departments and applied into new areas that have significant national impact in strategically important areas. We are delighted that this work has been awarded a highly prestigious BAE Systems Chairman’s Silver Award for innovation – a wonderful recognition of the project’s success.”

Mark Lewis, Managing Director of the Analox group said: “We are incredibly proud to be awarded this contract. Analox have been working with navies for over 20 years now and we are excited to be developing a product which will propel our relationships with navies for the next 20 years. The atmosphere analyser uses new exciting technologies to ensure we remain at the very forefront of the gas detection industry.”

The system has been very successful in sea trials to date.

Press Release; Image: BAE Systems