BAE Systems and scientists from The Open University have developed a new atmosphere monitoring technology for the UK Royal Navy’s future submarine programme.
Based on lessons learned from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, the new analyser is designed to work in extreme environments, while maintaining robustness and operation for longer duration with less human interaction.
BAE Systems Submarines engineering manager Mark Scaife said: "Nuclear submarines are amongst the most complex machines ever devised, patrolling a hostile environment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in some of the most remote places known to man.
"The atmosphere analyser is capable of giving real-time readings to crews, so they can react quickly to any dangerous build-up of gases, an invaluable safeguard and one that can potentially save lives."
The analyser will continuously monitoring the unstable environmental atmospheres on submarines and evaluate several gas species, with a response time of less than a minute.
With the prototype version currently being built by Analox Military Systems as part of a £1m contract from BAE Systems, the final system is expected to provide better reliability and reduced procurement and through-life expenses.
Open University vice-chancellor Martin Bean said: "The project is a great example of how the expertise and know-how of the best research groups in British universities can be harnessed by British industry and government departments, and applied into new areas that have significant national impact in strategically important areas."
Image: The new atmosphere monitoring system has successfully completed several sea trials. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.