Rolls-Royce wins UK Navy sub propulsor contract

Rolls-Royce has won a key submarine propulsor contract for the Royal Navy’s Astute class of submarines.

The contract, awarded by the Astute prime contractor Bae Systems, covers the design, manufacture and supply of propulsors for three submarines: Astute, Ambush and Artful. The Astute propulsor is a pump jet system consisting of moving rotor blades within a fixed duct.

Rolls-Royce says that it will reduce manufacturing lead times by 30%, compared with previous propulsor systems supplied to the Royal Navy. This will be achieved by advanced manufacturing techniques, reducing the need for extensive machining work, and improved project management, including concurrent engineering techniques which fully integrate design, manufacturing and support teams.

Deliveries will begin in June 2003 and be completed by 2006. Performance targets include low noise and shock containment capability.

Trial assembly of the propulsors will take place in Derby, while final assembly will take place at Bae Systems Marine in Barrow-in-Furness.