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BAE Systems Successor SSBN

Grey Havoc

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/05/french-contract-for-britains-new-fleet-of-nuclear-submarines-bet/
 

flateric

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http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/the-equipment/submarines/future-submarines/successor-class
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2016/october/01/161001-building-starts-on-successor
http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2016/october/21/161021-famous-warship-name-restored-for-first-successor-boat
 

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Hood

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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?
 

gral_rj

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What I heard is that traditional names would be used(supposedly Ark Royal is on the running for naming one of the subs).
 

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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.
 

PMN1

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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?
 

mrmalaya

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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.
 

covert_shores

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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?
 

Hood

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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.
 

starviking

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sferrin said:
starviking said:
Abraham Gubler said:
JFC Fuller said:
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.
 

Abraham Gubler

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starviking said:
Abraham Gubler said:
JFC Fuller said:
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.
 

Grey Havoc

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Pirate Pete

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Stumbled across this today (this evening) whilst idly searching the web:
SURELY this would have had a bit more coverage than seems to have been the case?
- Oh I forgot, we Brits are subsumed by such issues as BREXIT and the selection of a new Conservative Party Leader!!!!

Would appear to confirm the name of the fourth member of the class:

From the GOV.UK website...

Defence Secretary praises 50 years of nuclear 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 today to recognise the Royal Navy’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) over the past 50 years.
Published 3 May 2019
From:Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP

The Dreadnought class submarine.

The Dreadnought class submarine.
The Defence Secretary has announced the fourth Dreadnought submarine as HMS King George VI ahead of a special service at Westminster Abbey today 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.
Prior to the service at Westminster Abbey, First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, announced that HMS King George VI will now join HMS Dreadnought, Valiant and Warspite as the fourth Dreadnought submarine. HMS King George VI makes history as it will become the first naval vessel to bear that royal title. King George VI had strong naval connections having spent time at the Royal Naval College, Osbourne followed by Dartmouth. He then went on to earn a mention in despatches for his service on HMS Collingwood during the Battle of Jutland.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said:
For half a century, the Royal Navy has always had at least one ballistic missile submarine at sea on patrol, safeguarding the ultimate guarantor of our country’s security – and that of our NATO allies too. Today, as we pause to reflect on the significance of this 50-year milestone in our proud history of submarine operations, and the national endeavour that underpins it, we are also looking to our future.
Today’s announcement that the fourth of our future ballistic missile submarine fleet will be named HMS King George VI follows a long tradition of naming capital ships after our country’s monarchs; together with her sisters Dreadnought, Valiant and Warspite these submarines represent the cutting edge of underwater capability and will meet the awesome challenge of continuous at sea deterrence into the second half of the 21st century.
It is estimated that around 30,000 people are involved in building and supporting nuclear submarines across the UK. Maintaining this skilled workforce helps to invest millions of pounds into local communities and ensures the UK continues to boast a highly-skilled workforce in this sector.
 

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Grey Havoc

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Yet more woes:

The other two programs investigated by the Public Accounts Committee are based at the Rolls-Royce reactor-core production capability facilities at Raynesway, near Derby, England, and at BAE Systems’ submarine-building yard at Barrow.

The cost of the Rolls-Royce facility being built to equip the upcoming Dreadnought-class of nuclear missile submarines with a new reactor design was forecast at £474 million, with a completion target date of 2026. The National Audit Office found that date to be 5.1 years behind schedule.

The future sub-building facility at BAE Systems’ Barrow location is expected to cost £240 million, with a completion date of 2022. The new facility is to allow for the modular build of the four Dreadnought-class submarines destined to replace the Royal Navy’s Vanguard boats. The National Audit Office estimated that BAE’s infrastructure project is 1.7 years behind schedule under that completion date.

The watchdog also said in its report that despite earlier challenges, the projects had made progress in later stages. All programs are in their fitting-out stage.

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson noted that the creation of a new, nuclear-regulated facility is “a highly complex and intricate project."

“Our existing facilities have been in use since the 1950s, so this really is a once-in-a-generation construction project, and we’re working closely with the MoD to ensure this important facility faces no further delays,” the spokesperson said.

A BAE spokesperson said the company had not seen the report and therefore was unable to comment.
 

JohnR

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I've been reading various bits about the Dreadnought class. I've read that the reactor will be a PWR3, however the power rating is not mentioned. As it is based on US practices will there be an increase in power over previous RN SSBN?

Also what is the reason for the reduction in the number of missiles from the 'traditional' 16 to 12? And why has there not been a proportional size reduction; I presume it's to improve the habitability?
 
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Hood

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The PWR1 was rated around 70MW, no official figure for PWR2 has been released but is estimated at over 100MW.
The Vanguards received PWR2 with Core G, Astutes have Core H with a 25-year core life. The basic PWR2 dates back to the mid-1980s. Its likely that PWR3 will be an improved design with focus on enchanced safety, low acoustic signatures and core life rather than power output.

I don't think that missile numbers matter too much, probably will still have more silo tubes than the RN has operational missiles and warheads that are normally carried for operational patrols.
 

timmymagic

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I've been reading various bits about the Dreadnought class. I've read that the reactor will be a PWR3, however the power rating is not mentioned. As it is based on US practices will there be an increase in power over previous RN SSBN?

Also what is the reason for the reduction in the number of missiles from the 'traditional' 16 to 12? And why has there not been a proportional size reduction; I presume it's to improve the habitability?
Vanguard Class routinely patrol with only 12 missiles, and thats unlikely to change in the future, no need for tubes that cost money and maintenance time if they're never going to be full. Same reason for the Colombia Class only having 16 tubes rather than 24. If we need to get more warheads to sea in the future it would be by MIRVing more of the missiles.
 

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Something that i've noticed on the French SSBN is there is a gap between two sets of 8 missiles, what do the French have in that gap that the RN and USN dont have on their SSBN?
 

uk 75

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Something that i've noticed on the French SSBN is there is a gap between two sets of 8 missiles, what do the French have in that gap that the RN and USN dont have on their SSBN?
A wine cellar.
You do have to love France. I think this might be....
 

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Hood

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Are there any other views available?
Meh, probably but its doesn't alter the material facts of the story.

Makes you wonder if the Trident warhead reduction was simply because the stocks of usable warheads was dwindling so it was couched in arms reduction terms to earn political brownie points.

The plan was on routine patrol to have 8 Tridents with 5 warheads each, totalling 40. So an operational total of 120 would be more than ample since more than two boats would never be out at once normally. You could even push out three boats if things got sticky and still have 60 warheads in reserve - assuming they are not all in maintenance/store.
Even if you maxed out the tube load to 12 Tridents that is 60 warheads, sufficient for two boats or three if you used all the stock in a do or die scenario (in which case getting one or even two boats out of refit in time would seem unlikely if the situation was that bad)
Maxing Trident with 8 warheads seems unlikely, you would want some decoys in that load.

So its not clear that having more than 180 is actually that useful - in fact having more than 48 F-35s might be far more useful given the use of a W76 is highly unlikely and the use of the F-35 is much more statistically likely.
 

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