Babcock has signed an agreement with Systems Engineering and Assessment (SEA) to jointly bid for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Vanguard Replacement Programme (VRP) Submarine Communications Buoy (SCB) system’s Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP).
The UK MoD is seeking a towed SCB system for future SSBN class vessels to meet the emerging communication requirements of the new platform.
A tender for the programme was issued in December 2011 and the TDP will serve as a planned predecessor to the system.
Under the teaming agreement, Babcock will undertake the project management, safety, design and manufacturing, while SEA will be responsible for TDP management, systems integration, systems engineering and simulation and validation.
Babcock future business development manager James Date said that the team will combine Babcock’s engineering design and manufacture strengths with SEA’s technology insertion to successfully deliver the SCB TDP.
The company has also taken initiatives to strengthen its position for the programme, which include study of existing towed VLF buoy systems, analysis of alternatives, hydrodynamic modelling data, and trade studies.
The SCB development programme was initiated in 2008 and Babcock has been involved in the programme, supporting the UK MoD with concept design and assessment, analysis, model testing and platform integration studies.
As per the UK MoD requirements, the towed SCBs must be capable of receiving very low frequency (VLF) radio signals at any time under all weather conditions and be able to respond and control their flight over various flow conditions from any direction, including large amplitude irregular waves.
Additional requirements include the buoy remaining at a controlled depth below the sea surface, while being covert to achieve continuous communications.
The SCB systems enable maximum operational flexibility with minimal restrictions on a ship’s speed and depth to provide a wide range of communications capabilities.
In 2004, Babcock and SEA also teamed up to support the Sonar 2112 programme.