Dreadnought contract secures skills at Thales

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Highly-skilled positions in manufacturing, engineering and design are being created at Thales following the award of a contract to provide sonars and sensors to the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought submarines.

An rendering of HMS Dreadnought (Image: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems Submarines, which is building four nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy, awarded the contract which is worth around £330m.

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In a statement, Thales chief executive Victor Chavez said: “Thales is immensely proud of our contribution to the Continuous at-Sea Deterrent over the last 50 years. This announcement represents a £330m investment in world-class sonar and optronics systems; providing the battle-winning edge for the Royal Navy.”

The Dreadnought sonar system will be developed at Thales sites in Templecombe, Somerset, and Stockport. The periscope - known as the ‘Combat System Mast’ - will be developed and manufactured in Govan with technical input from the workforce in Crawley.

The fleet will also be equipped with Thales Sonar 2076, which is already in service with the Navy’s Trafalgar and Astute Class submarines. The visual and situational awareness sensor will combine electronic warfare technology with cameras to provide the Dreadnought crew with a visual link to the sea surface.

The next-generation Dreadnought submarines are expected to enter service from the early 2030s to provide the UK’s nuclear deterrent when they replace the Vanguard-class of ballistic missile submarines.

Most of the jobs being created by the sub-contract to Thales UK are highly-skilled and in manufacturing, engineering and design. There will be 30 new posts in both Templecombe and Cheadle Heath, where 50 jobs will be secured at each site respectively. In Govan, 35 jobs will be secured while another 30 will be maintained in Crawley.

Steve Lloyd, BAE Submarine Solutions’ Dreadnought programme director, said: “This major step, reflecting collaborative working between the Dreadnought Alliance and Thales UK, will make a direct contribution to the sustainment of Continuous at-Sea Deterrence through the delivery of the next generation of the UK’s ballistic missile carrying submarines.”