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Author Topic: BAE Systems Successor SSBN  (Read 5176 times)

Offline Grey Havoc

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BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« on: October 01, 2016, 10:01:36 am »
BAE gets funds to start building new submarines (ft.com, registration may be required.)
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Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline flateric

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« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 01:56:00 pm by flateric »
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Offline Hood

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 07:52:37 am »
I wonder what naming convention the MOD are going to follow?
Most modern warship and submarine classes have been letters (aircraft carriers being obvious exceptions) or named in sets (Dukes and Rivers for example).
Dreadnought might indicate her three sisters will also be D's, but that would clash with the Type 45 Darings. I wonder if they intend to revive some of the old battleship names?

Offline gral_rj

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 03:59:05 pm »
What I heard is that traditional names would be used(supposedly Ark Royal is on the running for naming one of the subs).

Offline kcran567

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 02:01:59 am »
Very impressive

Offline TomS

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 04:42:10 am »
Odd that they are showing two very different designs.  The detailed renders showing the missile hatches are not using the same sail or hull shape as the illustrations showing the whole hull.

Offline PMN1

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2016, 11:13:09 am »
Currently reading Cold War Command: The Dramatic Story of a Nuclear Submariner by Dan Conley, and Richard Woodman - a very interesting book and also quite depressing at times talking about deficiencies in most if not all areas of the Royal Navy submarine programme, from construction to training to operations.

Anyway there is a section about the Vanguard class.


Soon after taking up his post, Conley and his team visited VSEL and toured the Devonshire Dock Hall where there were three Trident SSBNs in various stages of construction, Vanguard, Victorious and Vigilant. Boarding Vanguard, Conley was immediately disappointed by her layout. Designed by the Ministry of Defence itself, the highly significant decision had been made to reduce the hull length by wrapping the forward and after ballast tanks around the pressure hull, reducing the hull diameters at either end. This was instead of adopting the precedent of the United States Navy’s Trident SSBN in which uniform pressure-hull diameter was maintained throughout its length, with the ballast tanks attached at either end, thus creating much more internal space. There had been reasons for constraining overall hull length in context of the costs and the feasibility of the modifications required to the Barrow dock system to handle the Trident boats; there would also be an additional expenditure of building bigger shore facilities to accommodate longer hulls, but this appeared to be a case of cutting the head off the horse to fit it into the stable. The resulting non-uniform hull diameter, in addition to constraining layout design and adding complexities to the construction, ineluctably produced cramped propulsion spaces with very difficult machinery access. Indeed, Conley assessed the engine room as even more congested than Valiant’s, all of which, when combined with the complexities and space constraints of the other machinery spaces, would increase the cost of through-life upkeep and increase crew stress when maintaining and repairing engineering plant.

It was in the area of the sonar fit where Conley had most contention with the Trident project. It was evident to him that several key aspects of the submarine’s sonar suite had been under-specified, resulting in a number of operational deficiencies which would either be costly or difficult to rectify. He firmly believed that the sonar system – which was unique to the Trident class – was not fit for purpose; in Conley’s judgement, it would be unable to provide comprehensive protection against third-generation Russian submarines, the quiet and capable Victor IIIs and Akulas, which would be the SSBNs’ main threat. Incomprehensibly – and almost egregiously, one might think – no expert operator input had been sought during the design stage of the sonar system. Furthermore, it was evident to Conley that weak and inexperienced project management was handling this vitally important part of the submarines’ defences. These views put Conley on a collision course with the hierarchy of the Trident project who saw him as awkward, unduly demanding and –from their perspective – of questionable judgement. However, none of them had knowledge or experience of operating submarine sonar in the contemporary threat environment. Conley afterwards recalled, ‘It was like a Formula One racing driver trying to explain his car deficiencies to a bunch of people who have never been in a car in their life.’ Perhaps seduced by the infallibility of the group, several members of the project team complained to Commodore Taylor that Conley was being unreasonable. With little or no support from either the Naval Staff or the specialists on the staff of Flag Office Submarines, Conley’s voice was, for an inordinately long time, a lonely one.

Predictably, however, soon after the submarine started sea trials, many of the sonar problems of which Conley had warned made themselves manifest. The Trident project senior management at last woke up to Conley’s anxieties and began to investigate these emerging deficiencies, most of which would take both time and significant resources to fix. Although totally vindicated, Conley deeply regretted that, owing to lack of expert operator input at the outset of the design process and inept project management, the British taxpayer would be confronted with a substantial bill to fix the problems. But he was also aware that few in Foxhill were commercially minded, beyond meeting their own budget targets, and this too was part of the problem. In 2011 the decision was made to extend the life of the four Trident boats from their designed twenty-five years to the thirty-year mark. As Conley had predicted, because of the poor equipment access and confined machinery spaces, the class has proved very expensive to operate. Furthermore, serious and underlying engineering problems, exacerbated by the accessibility constraints, have resulted in periods of very limited operational availability, putting the burden of extended patrol lengths on the sometimes single available SSBN in order to maintain continuous national deterrence. In 2007 the procurement and support organisations merged to form the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation (DESO), a major aim being to ensure that when warships and equipment are procured, there is equal consideration given to both initial production and through-life support costs. This reorganisation was, of course, very much overdue.


Does it look like the same mistakes are going to be made with regard to trying to keep the boat size down?


The book make a quite a few references to the poor layout or RN boats compared to USN boats making maintenance difficult, does anyone know how the Astutes and the new missile boat compare to earlier designs in this respect?


Offline mrmalaya

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2016, 05:00:24 am »
I'm Currently working my way through The Silent Deep by Peter Hennessy/James Jinks. It will be interesting to see what their coverage of it would be.

Offline covert_shores

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 08:12:23 am »
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Dreadnought is the wrong name for the successor class. These boats appear to be an evolution rather than a revolutionary new capability, which is the tradition of that name.

HMS Brexited maybe?
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2016, 09:24:33 am »
My issue with Dreadnought is that it was always a ship-killer name.

As for revolutionary- for some reason they are insanely expensive even compared to the Astute class. There is also a massive contingency (£10 billion) which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 06:06:28 pm »
which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Politics?
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Offline starviking

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 07:38:57 pm »
which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Politics?

Of the trans-atlantic kind perhaps?

Offline sferrin

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 08:03:28 pm »
which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Politics?

Of the trans-atlantic kind perhaps?

What could the US do (realistically) to throw a wrench in things?
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Offline Hood

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2016, 12:43:55 am »
Maybe the MOD has finally learnt that its initial estimates are often optimistic and that nothing ever comes in on budget and on time.
At least they won't get caught out this time having to explain to the Estimates Committee why they had to beg for an additional £10bilion.

Offline starviking

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2016, 04:19:44 am »
which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Politics?

Of the trans-atlantic kind perhaps?

What could the US do (realistically) to throw a wrench in things?

I agree things are unlikely to impact the programme in the short term, but we've had very big political upsets on both sides of the Atlantic recently, so who knows?

Still, the contingency is less likely to be about future political problems, more likely industry and economy related.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: BAE Systems Successor SSBN
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2016, 09:10:11 pm »
which suggests something is driving significant risk.

Politics?

Of the trans-atlantic kind perhaps?

Nope. Domestic political indecision is more than enough to ruin any defence acquisition. Case inpoint ( UK alone): CVF, FRES Utility, Nimord MRA.4, etc.
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Offline Grey Havoc

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