A National Endeavour

Britain’s submarine industrial base covers a “national endeavour”, a 50+ year programme providing a key element of the UK’s national defence capability;

The Nuclear Submarine Programme comprises submarines in service, in production and future submarines, as well as the nuclear propulsion, nuclear warhead (which will not be managed by the SDA) and Trident missile programmes. It is extremely complex and involved, covering the entire lifecycle from concept and design of submarine platforms to their decommissioning and final disposal. This is in addition to supporting related infrastructure activity in base ports with significant safety requirements. The programme stretches out to 2070 and beyond.

in part it relies on some international expertise but mainly it is a largely UK based sovereign capability which delivers world class submarine capability for the Royal Navy.

UK submarine supply chain supporting the design, build, test, commissioning of nuclear-powered submarines involves up to 1,000 companies located in 444 towns and cities of the UK in every region of England, Scotland and Wales – the Dreadnought and Astute class developments provides them with valuable long-term business opportunities.

The wider supply chain embraces operations located at:

  • BARROW: Design build of submarines;
  • DERBY: Design and build of powerplant;
  • FASLANE: Operational base from 2020 of all submarines;
  • PLYMOUTH, DEVONPORT: Refit and refuelling.
  • BERKSHIRE: AWE Aldermaston

Construction and through-life sustainment supports 30,000 to 40,000 highly skilled jobs in the UK throughout the country.

The Submarine Alliance and Submarine Delivery Agency

The Submarine Alliance has come together to combine the expertise of BAE SYSTEMS, Babcock and Rolls Royce to enable delivery of the boats efficiently.

On 1 April 2018 the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) came into being. The Agency is being created to design, shape, procure and support in-service nuclear submarines in the UK.

The Submarine Delivery Agency is central to the UK Government’s £178 billion equipment plan for the British Armed Forces, and is responsible for the commissioning, building and in-service support of the new “Dreadnought” class of submarines that will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent, as well as the remainder of the Astute class. It also provides in-service support to current and future classes. This is a national endeavour and one of the largest UK investment programmes in existence, of critical strategic importance. https://appointments.thetimes.co.uk/job/455499/commercial-director-submarine-delivery-agency-sda-mod/

The Agency formed on 3 April 2017 includes 1,200 highly qualified members of staff with significant subject matter expertise and total annual spend of c£3 billion.

Its work is of unparalleled strategic importance both nationally and internationally, ensuring the security of the UK’s on-going at-sea nuclear deterrent.

A standalone entity within the Ministry of Defence, the Agency brings together existing expertise with heightened managerial, commercial and procurement capability to ensure the excellence and cost-efficient delivery of the UK’s nuclear submarine assets for decades to come.

In addition to procuring the replacement of the current Vanguard class with its successor, Dreadnought, the organisation manages the bringing in to service of the Astute class submarines, in-service support, and the decommissioning of submarines taken out of service.

The Agency is accountable to the Ministry of Defence for the procurement of new submarines and to the Royal Navy for in-service support provision. It shapes and advise on the scope, terms and commercial parameters of the programme, manage the procurement approach, and both place and manage contracts with industry partners, working with them to ensure successful, timely, cost-effective delivery.



See https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56a0a83c40667abfbc328b86/t/57e3e7138419c27908c41548/1474553624784/Submarine+enterprise.pdf

Digital shipyard BAE Systems


Newport news shipbuilding http://supplier.huntingtoningalls.com/sourcing/sup_shipbuildingIndustry.html

Australian submarine programme https://www.victoriandefencealliances.org.au/images/submarines/2018Subs-Nordahl.pdf https://www.victoriandefencealliances.org.au/images/submarines/2018Subs-Bewry.pdf

https://www.victoriandefencealliances.org.au/images/submarines/2018Subs-MemberQuads.pdf https://www.victoriandefencealliances.org.au/images/submarines/2018Subs-Schneider.pdf


Submarines are the most complex product in the world….

Over 50% of the cost of a submarine is externally procured products and services

There are more than 1million parts per boat

Seven Astute class submarines of 7,000tonnes each are planned: HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, HMS Audacious, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Anson and HMS Ajax

For Dreadnought class submarines HMS Dreadnought and three further boats are planned

Key supplier differentiators

Those firms with sustained high performance

Those which engage in live meaningful continuous improvement

Demonstrate real engagement with the opportunity but not an over or under reliance on it

Those demonstrating a can-do attitude positive glass half full people

Those which demonstrate innovation and can embrace change

Being local is not a differentiator per se

However, being local should allow you to offer a service advantage

We are tasked with sourcing the most effective solution regardless of geographic location

A healthy divergent local supply base, not be too reliant on BAE systems

Bidding for work

Timely submission of a comprehensive build is crucial

No surprises culture is crucial

If you are likely to face strong competition on a bid or cannot meet the full scope consider bidding with a partner or a consortium

However, if you do this ensure you have thought it through and can credibly demonstrate how the entity will work and who is responsible for what

Keeping work when you win it

Do what you said you would

Constantly have a precis of performance to date to hand

Sell yourselves and what you have achieved – do not assume it is self-evident

Issues can and do occur it is how you deal with them that matters – early communication and proactive action is a must

Understand our BAE Systems perspective

Always be offer proactive suggestions for improvement or issue recovery

Inexcusable to miss a delivery date without pre-advising

If in doubt check – do not make assumptions

Demonstrate ability to constructively challenge the specification and requirements to help reduce cost and / or lead time

No surprises culture is again crucial

We should have the joint objective of reducing the selling price whilst increasing your margin – cost reduction is not a zero-sum game for you