To ensure a smooth transfer from the prior 15-year deal, QinetiQ stated on 5 April that the Maritime Strategic Capability Arrangement (MSCA) with the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) would be extended for an additional ten years. A further five-year increase is also a possibility under the £259m deal.
The original MSCA, signed for £200m in 2008, granted access to the Ocean Basin marine technology facility at Haslar, where scale models of submarines and ships are tested for their design and manoeuvrability in varying sea conditions. As part of the agreement, a ship towing tank, shock laboratory machines, a life support systems laboratory, an experimental diving tank, and a hyperbaric medical unit were provided.
The Royal Navy’s director of submarines, Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, said:
“The MSCA is an essential cornerstone of some critical aspects of Royal Navy capability. These capabilities will help to ensure that the UK can continue to design, build, and operate world beating submarines, both now and into the future.”
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The MSCA provides capabilities that support the UK’s capacity to plan, construct, and securely run the surface and underwater ships of the Royal Navy, including the UK’s ongoing at-sea defence. The arrangement provides independent design, test, review, and security services in the areas of hydromechanics, stealth and signatures, structures, and maritime life support.
“To continue our strategic relationship with QinetiQ and secure the essential MSCA capabilities for another 10 years is an important achievement for the Submarine Delivery Agency, and good news for the submarine programme and the Royal Navy,” SDA CEO Sir Chris Gardner said.
The renewed contract will ensure sustained employment in these areas for the next ten years, according to a press release from Qinetiq, drawing on the expertise, facilities, and technology delivered from sites at Haslar in Gosport, Rosyth, Chichester, and Farnborough. The new work schedule will facilitate engagement with academic community and other marine industry stakeholders at a higher level than was previously maintained.
“The renewal of the MSCA will sustain key skills at our sites and will also reinvigorate our relationships with education and academia, supporting STEM programmes to attract the next generation of naval architects, engineers and other vital roles,” said Nic Anderson, chief executive of UK Defence, QinetiQ.