Tag Archives: HMS Vengeance

Nuclear Sub Protection Plan For Rolls-Royce

Nuclear Sub Protection Plan For Rolls-Royce

The financial woes at Rolls-Royce could result in the nationalisation of its nuclear submarine division, under contingency plans.

13:49, UK,Monday 14 December 2015

HMS Vengeance

HMS Vengeance is part of UK’s Trident fleet – powered by Rolls-Royce

Plans to protect the UK’s interests if the company powering the country’s nuclear deterrent runs into deeper trouble have been reportedly drawn up by the Government.

Rolls-Royce’s nuclear submarine business – which maintains the nuclear reactor propulsion systems aboard the Navy’s four Trident-fitted submarines – could even be nationalised under the contingency plans, according to the Financial Times.

It said several options had been drawn up to cover various scenarios, including the possibility of a takeover bid for the group by a foreign firm.

While there are existing safeguards to ensure the Government must approve any such deal, investors would perhaps be forgiven for considering any interest, given the fact the Rolls-Royce share price has lost a third of its value this year alone.

The company has issued a string of profit warnings – its problems exacerbated by weaker defence spending and lower demand for its services in the oil and gas industry following the collapse in commodity prices.

The company outlined the initial phase of its turnaround strategy under new chief executive, Warren East, a fortnight ago.

It involved hundreds of senior managers losing their jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds being slashed from the company’s annual cost base.

Its biggest shareholder, the American activist fund, ValueAct, has attracted particular attention.

It is pressing Rolls to go further and sell off its marine engine division – a move Mr East has signalled he is reluctant to do.

ValueAct is also seeking a place on the board.

Sky News reported last week that Value Act’s stake in Rolls-Royce – which remains one of the Government’s most important suppliers and engineering contractors – was said to have attracted increasing attention from senior Whitehall officials.

Representatives of both firms were expected to meet in Derby this week.

A Rolls-Royce spokesperson said on Monday: “We are in contact with Government as a matter of routine and regularly keep them updated on our performance and progress.”

The defence procurement minister Philip Dunne told the FT last week the Government was “concerned” Rolls-Royce was able to maintain its nuclear obligations and would “take a view in the event there was corporate activity.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said today: “Rolls-Royce is a major contributor to our economy. It’s an important supplier to the government. We will continue to work closely with them. I’m not going to get into specifics about the company’s future.”

Link – Sky News story
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Assystem Energy and Nuclear Engineers pay a visit HMS/M Vengeance in Devonport

The 15,000 tonne Scotland based Trident submarine ‘HMS Vengeance’ sailed into Devonport in March this year. As part of a £350m Ministry of Defence contract to refit and refuel, it’s been suggested that the ballistic nuclear submarine has safeguarded upwards of 2,000 UK jobs across the defence industry.

Assystem Energy and Nuclear staff pictured outside the Trident refit complex in Babcock’s Devonport dockyard (left to right, Amy Bowers, Tim Wicksteed, Pete Gillham, Mike Ormston & Jason Lockley)

With work on the Vanguard class vessel securing 1,000 jobs at Babcock in Devonport alone, Assystem Energy and Nuclear is representative of a number of other companies involved in ensuring that this nuclear deterrent will continue to operate safely and effectively for years to come once back at sea and operational.

Sitting out of the water in her specially converted dry dock, Assystem Energy and Nuclear were invited to step aboard the 150m (492ft) long vessel. HMS Vengeance, the last of her class to be refitted in Devonport is undergoing a complete overhaul of equipment, improvements to her missile launch capabilities and upgrades to the onboard computer systems. A new reactor core will also be fitted, a core that has been designed to last the submarine until she is finally decommissioned.

UK Trident Submarine – HMS Vengeance – Photo (RN)

As guests of the HMS Vengeance’s Assistant Marine Engineering Officer – Lieutenant Sam Gill RN, Assystem Energy and Nuclear Bristol based engineers couldn’t help but marvel at the size and complexity of the vessel as they set foot onto the submarine’s casing.

” It was great to be able to link the work I’ve been doing with the people who are operating the submarines on a day-to-day basis. The UK’s fleet of nuclear submarines have an excellent safety record and that has only been possible due to the combined efforts of the engineers who design them and the crews themselves, whose meticulous approach to maintenance ensures any problems are identified and dealt with swiftly.” –  Tim Wicksteed (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Stress Engineer)

“It’s proved to be a very successful and rewarding day. Our engineers and designers work hard on lots of submarine projects, but not many of them ever get the opportunity to see where their bits of the puzzle fit into the incredibly large picture. I think it gives our guys a much greater sense of achievement to see their efforts up close” Jason Lockley (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Business Development Manager (ex Submariner))

“You don’t fully appreciate the density or diversity of the systems that are involved until you get to see them installed in an operational environment. It’s absolutely invaluable to talk to the teams that are involved with operating and maintaining the boat and to learn from their experiences”. Mike Ormston (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Principal EC&I Engineer) 

Assystem Energy and Nuclear engineering consultancy specialises in mechanical and electrical design, structural integrity work and the generation of safety reports for many primary nuclear components onboard the UK’s existing submarine fleet. Assystem Energy and Nuclear are also involved with future submarine programmes as well as being heavily involved in the civil nuclear sector, supporting new build, maintenance and decommissioning activities.

Rear Admiral Simon Lister was quoted as saying “The highly sophisticated nature of the work involved in the deep maintenance of these magnificent vessels is testament to the experience and skills of the workforce in Devonport and those in the supply chain across the UK.” (BBC News, 26 March 2012)

One of Assystem Energy and Nuclear’s bright young engineering stars, who’s soon to finish her PhD said.  

When you see the scale of the submarine and all the components involved it’s very impressive – it’s fantastic to get the opportunity to work on such projects. You only have to take a look at projects like this one and others that companies like ours are involved with to realise that we have great engineering talent in the UK. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. Amy Bowers (Assystem Energy and Nuclear Graduate Stress Engineer)

Assystem Energy and Nuclear would like to thank HMS Vengeance ship’s staff, especially MEO – Lt Cdr Shaun Southward RN & AMEO Lt Sam Gill RN for such an enlightening tour, and the interest shown in how the wider MoD Supply chain works to support the submarine programme.

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