Babcock has received a contract to deliver its weapon handling and launch system (WHLS) for the UK Royal Navy fifth Astute Class nuclear powered attack submarine.

The contract follows an earlier contract awarded for the long-lead items, and also includes a long-lead items contract for the sixth submarine.

The handling system consists of equipment to embark, store, reposition and load weapons into the torpedo tubes while the launch system uses an air turbine pump (ATP) to achieve a positive launch firing mechanism.

The ATP is an air-driven rotary pump that displaces a volume of water to launch a weapon from a torpedo tube.

The Astute WHLS Class is capable of carrying more torpedoes and tube-launched missiles than other royal navy submarines, and optimises firing profiles for the range of weapon types that the system can carry.