DE&S places contract to ensure Royal Navy’s underwater weapons capability remains at the highest readiness

Published 26 January 2021

A £230-million contract has been signed to cover the repair and maintenance of the Royal Navy’s Spearfish and Sting Ray torpedoes.

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The six-and-a-half-year contract, with BAE Systems, supports more than 100 skilled jobs largely at the company’s Broad Oak facility in Portsmouth.

The Torpedoes Repair and Maintenance (TRAM) contract supersedes the Torpedo Capability Contract (TCC) with BAE Systems which ran for 10-years.

The contract supports availability of the Royal Navy’s inventory of Spearfish Heavyweight and Sting Ray Lightweight torpedoes and provides technical repair and maintenance including provision of spares, stock management, logistics and trials support.

Also key is the provision of safety and environment services and engineering advice to support Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in assuring the continued safe use of the weapons.

The contract, negotiated by the Torpedoes, Tomahawk and Harpoon Delivery Team within DE&S sees the involvement of a diverse supply chain of 27 current and new major suppliers.

DE&S team leader Simon Pearson said:

“I am proud of my team who were passionate about providing the best torpedo in service support possible.

“They worked tirelessly alongside industry partners and our Defence Munition sites to identify a new way of delivering the world class support the Royal Navy needs, but at a significantly reduced cost.”

Spearfish torpedoes are carried by the Royal Navy’s Astute, Vanguard and Trafalgar Class submarines and can target both underwater and surface threats. Once the torpedo has been fired Spearfish automatically homes in on its target using sonar.

Sting Ray torpedoes are deployed on the service’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) platforms including Frigates and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters and provide the close attack capability. Like the bigger Spearfish torpedo, they can automatically home in on a target after launch.

The new approach to Torpedo In-Service support has three key suppliers and in addition to BAE Systems, Hamilton Sundstrand (part of Collins Aerospace) will conduct the Spearfish powerplant servicing and DE&S Defence Munitions will be responsible for undertaking the final weapon assembly and processing required to install on submarines, ships or helicopters.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

“Our Royal Navy submarines require sophisticated defensive and offensive underwater weapons to deter a wide range of surface and subsurface threats.

“This £230 million investment is crucial in safeguarding the availability and effectiveness of these highly capable weapon systems whilst supporting skilled British jobs.”

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