The design and development of a submarine involves a complex series of compromises between the hull size and shape, the power plant system, weapons and sensors, and the desired performance in speed, depth, and silencing. The primary limitation is that of submerged displacement: The total weight of the entire submarine must weigh less than the volume of water it displaces in order for it to float. Streamlining is another important factor in submarine design. Early submarines, which could stay submerged only for a short time, operated mainly on the surface and often had large deck guns for shelling ships and surface targets. Likewise, they had bulky structures, called the sail or bridge, that rose above the middle section of the submarine.
Underwater performance and endurance gradually increased as technology improved, and the deck guns, which hampered underwater speed, eventually faded from use. Beginning in the 1950s, submarine builders embraced the albacore-shaped hull—a smooth, stiffened cylinder with a spherical bow and tapered stern—as the most efficient underwater design. This shape allows the submarine to operate at relatively great depths, and to maneuver and accelerate with minimum drag through the water, while providing space to house the necessary mass of internal components.
BAE Systems Submarine Solutions
BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, designated the UK Submarine Centre of Excellence, has a pedigree spanning 135 years and has been entrusted with the design, development and build of many first of class vessels - those that demand the highest levels of expertise and innovation. Our design services department draws on this expertise to provide an unrivalled range of services to customers in the marine, naval and offshore engineering sectors.
Our range of services are all complementary to our manufacturing capabilities, allowing design services to provide a technical and manufacturing proficiencies ranging from small consultancy contracts to complete ship design and build. Our services include:
The department's capabilities are applied primarily to submarines but have recently been applied successfully to both naval and commercial vessels and draw on a unique library of proven designs including hull forms, general arrangements and powering and performance characteristics.
MARINE ENGINEERING DESIGN
Our marine design capability is at the leading edge of submarine and surface ship engineering and allied new technology development. Its capabilities are applied to the whole product lifecycle - 'cradle to grave': from concept design studies through to detailed design and the provision of design for in-service support.
ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING DESIGN
Our electrical design capability is built up from a wealth of experience in the design, development and integration of electrical and electronic control systems, power and propulsion systems for surface ships and submarines.
The overall design of a nuclear submarine has been compared in terms of complexity with the design of the space shuttle - the ability to sustain life in an alien environment while carrying out a complex mission entirely unaided is essentially the same. The submarine however, includes a nuclear reactor, together with all its safety systems and, although they are broadly similar in size, the submarine carries ten time the number or crew for five times as long.
STRUCTURES, STRESS AND DYNAMICS
The structures, stress and dynamics group has a proven capability to tackle the wide range of structural and mechanical component design tasks associated with submarines and surface ships. Designs can be validated using the latest tools and techniques including advanced non-linear static and dynamic finite element analysis.
NOISE AND VIBRATION ENGINEERING
The Noise And Vibration Engineering Department (NAVED) is a specialist engineering resource providing radiated and acoustic noise expertise and signature solutions. The department holds a significant amount of unique legacy design information, noise and vibration monitoring equipment and analysis tools to provide a service which, both at the design stage and onboard vessels in build, solves self-generated noise and vibration problems.
RADIATION PHYSICS AND SHIELDING
We provide a proven capability in the design and safety assessment of secondary shielding onboard all RN nuclear submarines. We can assess the performance of shield designs and validate for design, manufacture and installation.
MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY AND WELDING ENGINEERING
We are the leaders in the field of material technology and welding engineering, providing technical advice and practical application of ferrous and non-ferrous materials technology in support of design and manufacturing.
We have proven experience in the processes and techniques of fabricating and outfitting ships and submarines, allowing us to provide consultancy to support production activities and improvements in production processes and facilities.
We have developed a unique cost effective method that allies human engineering, ergonomics and operator experience with a demonstrable process to justify that a minimum of crew can satisfy all operational and regulatory demands placed on them throughout the vessels design life.