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Letter to BAE and Babcock on the Successor Programme

11 February 2016

The Defence Committee writes to BAE and Babcock regarding the Successor Programme. The letter, set out below, seeks information on whether new technologies could undermine the ability of the Vanguard class submarines to operate at sea without being detected.


The Defence Committee is conducting preparatory work in advance of the expected debate and vote in the House on the Successor Programme. As part of that work, the Committee would to like gain a better understanding of the extent to which new technologies could make it impossible for the Vanguard class to operate undetected at sea.
Therefore, I would be grateful if you could provide the Committee with an assessment of:

  • The current military technologies available to detect and track submarines.
  • Whether new technologies, for example underwater drones, are being developed which could accurately detect and track submarines.
  • The feasibility of such technologies to operate effectively.
  • What the timescale would be before such equipment would become operational.
  • What advancements in submarine design are being considered to combat detection by such equipment.

The date for the debate and vote has not been announced, but it is possible that it could take place in March. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could respond to our questions by the end of February. 

Response from Babcock International Group PLC (PDF 43.4KB)

Response from BAE Systems (PDF 153 KB)

Further information