The UK has awarded BAE Systems a £270m contract to upgrade the torpedoes used by the country’s submarines guaranteeing 100 skilled engineering jobs, it was announced.
The upgrade work for the Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo will take place at its Board Oak facility in Portsmouth, a year after the defence company scrapped its shipbuilding operation in Hampshire laying off hundreds of people.
BAE, Europe’s largest defence contractor, said the upgrade will redesign the weapon system to cut operating costs by extending the life of the torpedo and improving safety. It will include a new fuel system, digitising the weapon.
“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,” said Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
“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 £600m contract to run the naval base, sustaining thousands of jobs, and the upcoming £100m of infrastructure work to prepare the city for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.”
According to John Hudson, managing director for BAE Systems, the upgrade of the torpedo will provide sophisticated advances for the Royal Navy with increased operational advantage in the underwater domain.
“As well as sustaining and creating jobs in the Solent region, the contract allows the opportunity to work on one of the most exciting development programmes in the country, underpinning BAE Systems’ position at the forefront of underwater systems development over the last 40 years,” Hudson added.
The first upgraded torpedoes will be delivered in 2020.