The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected Babcock and SEA as one of two teams for phase one of the Vanguard Replacement Programme (VRP) Submarine Communications Buoy (SCB) system’s Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP).
The first phase of the TDP programme is a 14 month simulation and testing contract, under which each of the two selected teams will design and develop an effective SCB system, as well as validate it with model testing.
Following the results of phase one, the Royal Navy will then elect one team to carry out phase two of the programme.
The contract will be subject to MoD approval and includes full prototype system delivery and demonstration in an operational environment.
The Babcock-SEA team previously signed an agreement to jointly bid for the UK MoD’s TDP, under which Babcock sought responsibility for project management, safety, design and manufacturing, while SEA will undertake TDP management, systems integration and engineering, as well as simulation and validation.
The Royal Navy is seeking a towed SCB, which must be capable of receiving very low frequency (VLF) radio signals and be able to respond and control their flight over various flow conditions from any direction, including large amplitude irregular waves under all weather conditions.
The buoy, apart from being undetected to achieve continuous communications, should also be able to remain at a controlled depth below the sea surface.
The towed SCB system is expected to meet the emerging communication requirements of the UK Royal Navy’s SSBN-class vessels. Work under the phase one contract is scheduled to begin in the summer of next year.