The Ministry of Defence has formally announced its intention to procure two reactor fresh water-cooling heat exchangers for ASTUTE class submarines, with a contract value set at £8 million.

According to a Voluntary Ex-Ante Transparency (VEAT) Notice published on 18 March 2024, this procurement forms an integral part of the ongoing Deep Maintenance Programme for the submarines.

The notice specifies that the “Platform Equipment Delivery Team, which is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), intends to award a contract to Naval Group Limited for the purchase of two additional Fresh Water Cooling Heat Exchanger (HEATEX) units to be installed on ASTUTE class submarines.”

The MOD notice states, “Reactor Fresh Water-Cooling Heat Exchangers/Coolers are fundamental to the operation of platforms and are linked directly to delivery of submarine outputs and platform availability; they also fulfil a key nuclear reactor safety function.

This procurement aims to “procure 2 modified Heat Exchangers from Naval Group UK, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to meet the requirement for the ASTUTE Class Deep Maintenance Period (DMP) whilst an enduring support strategy for Coolers is developed.

The notice also expands upon underscores Naval Group’s unique position as the OEM capable of providing these bespoke-designed units, crucial for the submarines’ safety and operational functionality. The MOD justifies the direct award of this contract under the regulations of The Defence and Security Public Contracts (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011.

The justification for not proceeding with a prior publication of a contract notice is stated as, “It is considered that this contract can be awarded without prior publication of a contract notice in the UK e-notification service in accordance with regulation 16(1)(a)(ii) of the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 for technical reasons.

Further emphasising, the notice elaborates:

The Units provide Sea Water cooling to the Boat’s Fresh Auxiliary Water Cooling System and the Reactor Compartment Fresh Water Cooling System. They are a vital part of the nuclear safety function and must work with and be compatible with the other systems on the Boat.

The announcement also indicates potential subcontracting opportunities, although specific details regarding these opportunities were not provided within the notice.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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lordtemplar
lordtemplar
14 days ago

OT. bigger news for Naval Group was the recent award of the Dutch Walrus replacement program with its Blacksword Barracuda (a smaller non-nuclear powered version of France’s SNA @ +3000 ton and about 80 meters length)

WatcherZero
WatcherZero
14 days ago
Reply to  lordtemplar

Going for the bid with the least domestic content of the three submitted and the only one where they would be primarily built abroad hasn’t gone down particularly well politically. The talk is of the permanent loss of native submarine building capability.

Last edited 14 days ago by WatcherZero
lordtemplar
lordtemplar
14 days ago
Reply to  WatcherZero

what ? what Dutch tech is in Saab or TKMS?
As for workshare we know nothing since nothing has been officially published. All we know is that there is a requirement to work with local suppliers. Saab chose Damen while Naval Group chose Royal IHC.
As for permanent loss of national submarine building capability in NL that shipped sailed in the 1990s.

frank
frank
14 days ago
Reply to  lordtemplar

So good to see you posting again mate….

AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago
Reply to  WatcherZero

The talk is of the permanent loss of native submarine building capability.

Well obviously. If you don’t build submarines you lost the capability.

Billythefish
Billythefish
14 days ago
Reply to  lordtemplar

Rutte wants to be head of NATO. Macron will only agree if he gives them the sub contract. Hele mooi.

lordtemplar
lordtemplar
14 days ago
Reply to  Billythefish

FYI Rutte already has the backing of France, as well as UK and US. It is some eastern european countries that do not, like Hungary and Romania.

Jonny
Jonny
14 days ago

W

Last edited 14 days ago by Jonny