The periscope – known as the ‘Combat System Mast’ – will be developed and manufactured in Govan by Thales UK with technical input from their workforce in Crawley.

This is part of a £330 million contract to develop the ‘eyes and ears’ of Dreadnought submarines.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

“I am delighted to continue our 50-year strong partnership with Thales. These next-generation sonars and sensors will ensure our nuclear deterrent retains a stealth and detection advantage over adversaries. With over 500 jobs created or secured by this contract, we are clearly acting on the government’s commitment to level-up across the UK.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, the fleet will also be equipped with Thales Sonar 2076; providing them with the latest in acoustic detection capability. The visual and situational awareness sensor will combine electronic warfare technology with cameras to provide the Dreadnought crew with a visual link to the sea surface.

“The next-generation Dreadnought submarines will be the Royal Navy’s most advanced submarines ever when they enter service from the early 2030s and will be vital in providing the UK’s nuclear deterrent, as they replace the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines. Most of the jobs being created by the sub-contract to Thales UK are highly-skilled and in manufacturing, engineering and design. There will be 30 new posts in both Templecombe and Cheadle Heath, where 50 jobs will be secured at each site respectively. In Govan, 35 jobs will be secured while another 30 will be maintained in Crawley. Thales directly employs more than 7,000 people in the UK across ten sites.”

Thales Chief Executive Victor Chavez said:

“Thales is immensely proud of our contribution to the Continuous at-Sea Deterrent over the last 50 years. This announcement represents a £330m investment in world-class sonar and optronics systems; providing the battle-winning edge for the Royal Navy. Having supported the deterrent since its inception, and with over a century of supplying periscopes to the Royal Navy, I am proud that our engineers continue to deliver cutting edge innovative technology at sites across the UK.”

Steve Lloyd, BAE Submarine Solutions’ Dreadnought programme director, said:

“This major step, reflecting collaborative working between the Dreadnought Alliance and Thales UK, will make a direct contribution to the sustainment of Continuous at-Sea Deterrence through the delivery of the next generation of the UK’s ballistic missile carrying submarines. The £31 billion Dreadnought programme is one of the most complex engineering projects ever undertaken by the UK Government and remains on schedule and within budget.”


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I bought a GPS tracker the size of my little finger, couldn’t one of them render stealth and where they are useless? Just secure it with bigger Ariel in a metal box like a go pro camera box, then secure with high strength glue or magnet. Stealth divers could attach it to our nuke subs if the price was right. Or am I wrong?

Harry Bulpit

The subs are probably swimming in counter electronic devises, plus they dive to incredibly deep depths. But this is also why the bases are well guarded.

James Fennell

GPS uses satellites. Not many of those underwater.

Meirion X

The water pressure will squeeze it.
Electronics and water don’t get on well!


I wish company’s like Thales uk in Glasgow would say they would move to England if the vote for independence won. Even Babcock, well actually I can’t see them though after their HUGE investment, well the investments only 50 million at Rosyth so a tiny part of the type 31 cost.


Thales is French, with the French state holding a majority share. They are more likely to move their English sites to Scotland or France!

Peter Shaw

Strange how the French can get past EU state aid rules and state ownership rules and not have the ECJ hammer them like the do the UK….


Its pretty easy I think. The EU rules allow any country to define any industry as being nationally strategic. Rumour is the French once defined yoghurt making to be a strategic industry to stop Danon being taken over by a foreign company. Its just that the UK or at least the Tory party have a touching belief in Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’….let capitalism and free market alone and everything will magically work out. Which it does….but not necessarily to the benefit of the folk in the UK.

Nick C

You are absolutely correct Paul, Danone might have been taken over, I think by a US company, and it was declared to be of strategic importance to the French. Wine making I can understand, but yoghurt?

Harry Bulpit

If Scotland votes independence the any war ship building would have to move north anyway.


Hands off Thales….they pay my pension!

Peter Crisp

I maybe wrong here but I’g guessing periscopes are slightly more complex these days than cardboard tubes with some mirrors in?


MacTaggart Scott’s website gives an idea, obviously a lot of the actual design I would guess is secret squirrel stuff. But MacTaggart make the actual periscope masts so give some info.

Peter Shaw

Wow incredibly I never realised that the UK had a company devoted to mast raising equipment.


Not just the masts either.

Fairly sure they were involved in the ship lift on QNLZ and PWLS. Worth a ferret round their website. Look to do some interesting stuff.


Mactaggarts used to supplied just about every single winch or handling system used on RN surface warships.
Helo handling winch system on leanders, T21, 22, 42.
Upper deck winches, capstans and RAS equipment.
The Hydraulic hatches from the upper deck all the way down to the machinery spaces on T22s
Weapon lifts…


They build the aircraft elevators for most non-US ‘Western’ carriers.


Apparently it is linked to Viagra!


That’s the old Barr & Stroud company – swallowed up by Thales. I worked with them back in the ’90s on different stuff. Innovative company.

I’m guessing its a development of the system fitted to the Astutue class…

Andy P

Which worked well. It wasn’t my ‘part of ship’ but a big step up from what we had (have) on the S & T’s. Potentially a lot less mast exposure.


Yup, a clever system with real operational advantages…


Looking at the above picture, that is one fat lady.


Yeh, reminded me of the Soviet Typhoon class… Fat lady is right 🙂

Daniele Mandelli

Ha, me too CR.

Joseph R

yep.. oblate hull reminded me of the Project 949a ‘Oscar II’ class SSGNs..

Paul T

I have no idea if the renditions shown so far are what the Dreadnought’s will actually look like but it does look odd – almost as if someone has trodden on a Vanguard and squashed it,plus those Missile Compartment Doors look Huge too.

Andy P

They all need loving Rob, submariners aren’t that picky…. 😉

Bloke down the pub

And if, as suggested over at STRN, the replacement for the Astutes will be based on Dreadnought, need for a smaller ssk to perform some tasks may become imperative. Unless of course, USVs that could be carried by the larger boats, take over those roles.

Steve R

To be honest I think we should build some SSKs for the Royal Navy in addition to our SSNs to give some more depth to our submarine fleet.

Far cheaper to build and the only downside I can see is more limited range. That could be offset by using them for more local operations: North Atlantic, North Sea, Mediterranean etc.

Could permanently base one in HMS Juffair to extend range further if required.

John Clark

It goes without saying that the follow on SSN will (sensibly) leverage on Dreadnought technology as much as possible, that invariably means the PR3 reactor/propulsion system. This will make for a bit of a monster SSN! It’s going to be one very big boat. The up side is it should stop development costs spiraling out of control, as boat one (should) start build as soon as the first Dreadnought is in Barrows Basin. It will hopefully give a very large weapons carrying and uuv capacity, that’s absolutely essential if we are sticking to only 7 boats. The downside is even… Read more »

Steve R

Perhaps something like the German Type 212 submarine or the Japanese Soryu?


I wonder if the Dreadnought class will get the new W93 warhead from day one, or have to wait a few years?


The hull in that mock-up looks unfeasibly large. Is the Dreadnough Class really going to be bigger than a Typhoon Class?!


Impressive beast 👍


Hi folks hope are all well.
Good news for those that will be involved in the project. Wonder if the SNP have a view on this subject? No boupt will insist all work is stoped if indepence is achived.