BAE Systems awards £330m sonar contract for Dreadnought submarines

A submarine being built at BAE Systems in Barrow

BAE Systems has announced that it has awarded a £330 million contract to develop the next generation of sonar for the Dreadnought submarines.

BAE Submarine Solutions, which is building four nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy, has awarded the work worth to Thales UK.

The sonar system will be developed in Somerset and Stockport and the periscopes will be manufactured in Govan, with technical input from the workforce in Crawley.

Thales UK has been a trusted Continuous at-Sea Deterrence partner with the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy since the first operation in 1969.

The contract will create 170 jobs and secure 350 across the UK.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “I am delighted to continue our 50-year strong partnership with Thales. These next-generation sonar and sensors will ensure our nuclear deterrent retains a stealth and detection advantage over adversaries.

“With over 500 jobs created or secured by this contract, we are clearly acting on the government’s commitment to level-up across the UK.”

The next-generation Dreadnought submarines will be the Royal Navy’s most advanced submarines ever when they enter service from the early 2030s and will be vital in providing the UK’s nuclear deterrent, as they replace the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines.

Thales directly employs more than 7,000 people in the UK across 10 sites.

Steve Lloyd, BAE Submarine Solutions’ Dreadnought programme director, said: “This major step, reflecting collaborative working between the Dreadnought Alliance and Thales UK, will make a direct contribution to the sustainment of Continuous at-Sea Deterrence through the delivery of the next generation of the UK’s ballistic missile carrying submarines.”

The £31 billion Dreadnought programme is one of the most complex engineering projects ever undertaken by the UK Government and remains on schedule and within budget, BAE said.