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ROYAL NAVY crew gains extra training on early command deck module


Early completion of the largest and most complex module for the second-of-class Astute submarine – Ambush – has opened up new opportunities to use the equipment for training its sister vessel’s Royal Navy crew at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow.

The command deck module houses the weapons systems, communications and sophisticated sonar technology for the Astute class submarine and carries the processing power of 2,000 laptops. It weighs 200 tonnes and is 22 metres long, yet in November it will slide into the pressure hull with a clearance of less than 10mm.

The module is designed as a “plug and play” component of the submarine and its painstakingly detailed testing includes completion of advanced trials of the combat systems during which the boat’s inboard combat system equipment is exercised in realistic scenarios enabling the combat system to “see” other ships and vessels and allows the operators to navigate the submarine around – effectively a “war game”.

Much of the equipment has been operated by the Astute crew over the summer. They have been using the equipment for familiarisation and training until the command deck module is ready for shipping.

The key milestone was achieved 28 days early and was completed quicker than on Astute thanks to lessons learnt both from the first-of-class and during design-proving activities at BAE Systems’ shore integration facility at Ash Vale near Farnborough. Its success demonstrated one of the primary advantages of the modular build process that enables extensive testing of fitted equipment before it is shipped into the submarine.

The successful test will also contribute towards a more successful sea trial and enable essential operability assessments to be completed before the first of class Astute submarine leaves Barrow.


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