News story: £270 million Royal Navy torpedo upgrade sustains hundreds of UK jobs

The MOD has awarded a £270 million contract to upgrade the Royal Navy’s Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

The Spearfish programme supports 60 jobs in Portsmouth where the torpedo is designed and manufactured with an additional 40 new skilled engineering vacancies being recruited for to work on the programme by BAE Systems.

The company also estimates that hundreds of jobs will be sustained in the company’s supply chain.

This year the MOD has already awarded BAE Systems a £600 million contract to run Portsmouth Naval Base and a £70 million Type 45 destroyer support contract that combined sustains more than 2,000 jobs in the Portsmouth region, including skilled engineering roles.

Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:


This contract award is good news for the Royal Navy, the UK and the city of Portsmouth where around 100 engineering jobs will be created or sustained.

Portsmouth continues to play a significant part in defence as illustrated by this contract award and has a bright future ahead of it thanks to recent investment such as the £600 milliion contract to run the naval base, sustaining thousands of jobs, and the upcoming £100 million of infrastructure work to prepare the city for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.

The Spearfish Upgrade includes a new warhead, a change to the fuel system to improve safety, full digitisation of the weapon and a new fibre optic guidance link to improve performance.

They are carried by the Royal Navy’s Astute, Vanguard and Trafalgar Class submarines and can target both underwater and surface threats.

Once the torpedo has been fired Spearfish homes in on its target using sonar and will be controlled by the submarine after launch via the new fibre optic link.

Continue reading...
 
I hope to Christ it works
 
Money and jobs.

What about military effect? How will the expenditure of a quarter of a billion pounds improve the Royal Navy's capability?

I recall only one hot torpedo firing in my lifetime by the RN, and that was using WW2 design fish. This seems like an awful lot of money to spend on a rarely-used weapon. Granted, an essential weapon for a submarine, so I assume these are world-beating torpedoes, but the article doesn't say much about why they are necessary or what they will do over and above the existing ones.
 
Money and jobs.

What about military effect? How will the expenditure of a quarter of a billion pounds improve the Royal Navy's capability?

I recall only one hot torpedo firing in my lifetime by the RN, and that was using WW2 design fish. This seems like an awful lot of money to spend on a rarely-used weapon. Granted, an essential weapon for a submarine, so I assume these are world-beating torpedoes, but the article doesn't say much about why they are necessary or what they will do over and above the existing ones.
How did we sink Belgrano?
 
I wonder how different we would be equipped if jobs/votes weren't a deciding factor.
They're not a factor in the glorious homeland of Kim Jong-un and I do believe they cry over how good their equipment is,

kim-jong-un-women.jpg
 
Money and jobs.

What about military effect? How will the expenditure of a quarter of a billion pounds improve the Royal Navy's capability?

I recall only one hot torpedo firing in my lifetime by the RN, and that was using WW2 design fish. This seems like an awful lot of money to spend on a rarely-used weapon. Granted, an essential weapon for a submarine, so I assume these are world-beating torpedoes, but the article doesn't say much about why they are necessary or what they will do over and above the existing ones.

So you think a press release should highlight existing capability gaps in our current submarine warfare capacity and what these torpedoes will do to plug the gaps? I mean we could just send the information to St Petersburg and save all that GRU and SVR piddling around.
 
So you think a press release should highlight existing capability gaps in our current submarine warfare capacity and what these torpedoes will do to plug the gaps? I mean we could just send the information to St Petersburg and save all that GRU and SVR piddling around.

Yes. of course, that's exactly what I meant, I should have been more explicit. (This may be bollocks).

Alternatively, the article could have said "new warhead improves lethality by 40%". Or "new guidance system improves accuracy by 30%". Or "New fuel system uses less volatile fuel, saving X Million in storage costs, while also improving reliability and availability". Or even "These new weapons will allow the phased withdrawal of the T-class boats a year earlier than planned, saving the costs of the program itself, while maintaining the same levels of available firepower to the RN".
 
Yes. of course, that's exactly what I meant, I should have been more explicit. (This may be bollocks).

Alternatively, the article could have said "new warhead improves lethality by 40%". Or "new guidance system improves accuracy by 30%". Or "New fuel system uses less volatile fuel, saving X Million in storage costs, while also improving reliability and availability". Or even "These new weapons will allow the phased withdrawal of the T-class boats a year earlier than planned, saving the costs of the program itself, while maintaining the same levels of available firepower to the RN".

The Spearfish Upgrade includes a new warhead, a change to the fuel system to improve safety, full digitization of the weapon and a new fibre optic guidance link to improve performance.

Reading that it indicates improved lethality of the warhead (which was a big fecker), safer as it probably made changes to the fuel system that control the HAP mixing and improved target acquisition and guidance.
 
My beef is that the article concentrates on the investment in jobs, not the investment in the RN's capability. It is the Defence budget being spent, not the DWP budget. If it's Defence money, the article should have led with what's being gained (in a military/naval manner) for the investment. As is, it reads like it is an exercise in keeping BAE employees in a job, with a minor upgrade for the RN as a by-poduct. It's a not-insignificant amount of money being spent.

Maybe there was an Option B, where some of the upgrades were provided, for say 50M, which would have allowed 200M to be spent on fuel/ammo/rations for more days at sea for the fleet. But that 200M wouldn't have protected any jobs. So you end up with all the toys and not enough time to train with them.

I don't know, I'm not a politician, but it just seems arse-about-face to me.
 
Spearfish isn't anew system. It entered service in 1995 so it will be due a mid life enhancement and with this level of hi-tech 50 mill doesn't get you much.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
My beef is that the article concentrates on the investment in jobs, not the investment in the RN's capability. It is the Defence budget being spent, not the DWP budget. If it's Defence money, the article should have led with what's being gained (in a military/naval manner) for the investment. As is, it reads like it is an exercise in keeping BAE employees in a job, with a minor upgrade for the RN as a by-poduct. It's a not-insignificant amount of money being spent.

Maybe there was an Option B, where some of the upgrades were provided, for say 50M, which would have allowed 200M to be spent on fuel/ammo/rations for more days at sea for the fleet. But that 200M wouldn't have protected any jobs. So you end up with all the toys and not enough time to train with them.

I don't know, I'm not a politician, but it just seems arse-about-face to me.

It's very unfashionable politically to point out that the forces are there to do damage to people. Also, remember that everything needs to be justified these days ("Why the f*ck are they spending money on this instead of getting the deficit down?"). Defence: not a loss-leader but a job-creator.

I agree with you that it's arse about face. On the other hand, some of the press releases in recent years which have touted capability have been of the embarrassing "The new system is the bestest-est in the world ever, ever, ever" variety and the authors of them should been shot and their families billed for the rounds. Along with the managers who signed them off. And their managers.
 
My beef is that the article concentrates on the investment in jobs, not the investment in the RN's capability. It is the Defence budget being spent, not the DWP budget. If it's Defence money, the article should have led with what's being gained (in a military/naval manner) for the investment. As is, it reads like it is an exercise in keeping BAE employees in a job, with a minor upgrade for the RN as a by-poduct. It's a not-insignificant amount of money being spent.

Maybe there was an Option B, where some of the upgrades were provided, for say 50M, which would have allowed 200M to be spent on fuel/ammo/rations for more days at sea for the fleet. But that 200M wouldn't have protected any jobs. So you end up with all the toys and not enough time to train with them.

I don't know, I'm not a politician, but it just seems arse-about-face to me.

There's no votes in Defence, there are plenty in creating jobs.

Besides, if you want to buy a torpedo from a UK manufacturer then you have to stump up enough business to keep said manufacturer afloat. If you don't they go out of business and then you have to buy something off the US or the Germans or whoever. On their terms, naturally.

Lack of repeat business is why there is now no UK design capability for large military aircraft, tanks, large calibre guns and so on. There are of course plenty of foreign companies happy to flog something to the MoD at a suitable profit margin - and, for an eye-watering extra amount, they'll set up a UK facility to bolt imported components together and put a Union Jack sticker on.
 
What we need is a torpedo that also works on land with a x-country capability.

That way we could fire them at the Taliban and other similar targets and get our money's worth instead of having to wait for a war with someone who has a navy...

Rodney2q
 

jim30

LE
One reason why it matters. The ssbn force rely on it as a last ditch weapon of defence. Its a small investment relatively speaking which i hope to christ is never used, but could make a massive difference if needed.


Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
 
There's no votes in Defence, there are plenty in creating jobs.

Besides, if you want to buy a torpedo from a UK manufacturer then you have to stump up enough business to keep said manufacturer afloat. If you don't they go out of business and then you have to buy something off the US or the Germans or whoever. On their terms, naturally.

Lack of repeat business is why there is now no UK design capability for large military aircraft, tanks, large calibre guns and so on. There are of course plenty of foreign companies happy to flog something to the MoD at a suitable profit margin - and, for an eye-watering extra amount, they'll set up a UK facility to bolt imported components together and put a Union Jack sticker on.


Well, quite. But that horse is well and truly out of the stable in pretty much every facet of the European defence industry. Not so the US, but even there, the main contractors sometimes have to find other countries to partner with to make it work (I'm thinking F35). Other projects not at all (F22, for example).
 

Latest Threads

Top