UK MoD awards UK contracts for next phase of SSN-AUKUS programme

by Kate Tringham

A graphic depiction of SSN-AUKUS. (BAE Systems)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded contracts totalling GBP4 billion (USD4.8 billion) to BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Babcock for the detailed design and long leads phase of the UK's and Australia's next-generation nuclear-powered attack submarine programme.

As part of their trilateral AUKUS security partnership arrangement, Australia, the UK, and the US in March 2023 unveiled plans that will see the UK and eventually Australia equipped with a future nuclear-powered attack submarine, known as SSN-AUKUS, based on the UK's SSN replacement SSN(R) design and incorporating technologies from all three countries.

Construction of the new boats is set to begin towards the end of the decade, with the first SSN-AUKUS boat planned to enter service with the UK Royal Navy (RN) from the late 2030s to replace its Astute-class vessels, followed by the first Australian submarines in the early 2040s.

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Naval Group starts experimental trials with Sterenn Du MUSV testbed

by Guy Toremans

Sterenn Du has been reactivated by Naval Group for use as an experimental testbed for large unmanned platforms and autonomous systems. (Naval Group)

French shipbuilder Naval Group has started experimental at-sea trials with the medium unmanned surface vessel (MUSV) Sterenn Du from its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) centre of expertise in Saint-Mandrier.

A Naval Group spokesperson told Janes that the trials, expected to continue well into 2024, include testing manned-unmanned teaming, the capability to integrate large USVs (LUSVs) with manned warships, optimal payload configurations, controlled decision-making autonomy based on artificial intelligence technology, and the autonomous launch and recovery of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and small USVs such as Naval Group's D-19 UUV and its new oceanic drone demonstrator (DDO).

The results of these tests will also enable the development of MUSV and LUSV concepts of operation (CONOPS).

Sterenn Du

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First German Type 126 frigate starts construction

by Kate Tringham

Damen Naval marked the official start of the construction phase of the Type 126 frigates programme with a steel-cutting ceremony on 5 December. Pictured (from left to right): Damen Shipyards Group's CEO Arnout Damen and Lürssen CEO Friedrich Lürssen. (Damen/Felix Matthies)

Damen Naval held a steel-cutting ceremony for the first Type 126 multi-purpose frigate on order for the German Navy at NVL Group's Peene-Werft shipyard in Wolgast, Germany, on 5 December.

Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group was awarded a EUR4.6 billion (USD5 billion) design and construction contract for four Type 126 frigates by Germany's Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in June 2020. Under the contract, Damen, acting as prime contractor, is delivering the programme in partnership with NVL Group subsidiary Blohm+Voss and Thales (as mission systems integrator).

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Spanish Navy commissions first S-80 Plus-class submarine

by Kate Tringham

The Spanish Navy's first S-80 Plus submarine, Isaac Peral, was commissioned into service on 30 November 2023. (Janes/Kate Tringham)

The Spanish Navy's first new S-80 Plus-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) has been commissioned into service following the completion of sea acceptance trials.

First-of-class Isaac Peral (S-81) was formally commissioned during a ceremony held at the Spanish Navy's naval base in Cartagena on 30 November.

Isaac Peral is the first of four S-80 Plus-class submarines being built by state-owned shipyard Navantia at its facilities in Cartegena for the Spanish Navy under a contract awarded in 2004. Laid down in 2007 and launched in May 2021 following multiple delays, the lead submarine was put to sea for the first time in May 2022. In early 2023 it moved into final sea acceptance testing, completing its first static dive on 30 March 2023 and its maximum operating depth dive test in October.

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded contracts totalling GBP4 billion (USD4.8 billion) to BA...

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