News story

£270 million Royal Navy torpedo upgrade sustains hundreds of UK jobs

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The deal with BAE Systems ensures the sustainment of the UK’s torpedo manufacturing capability in Portsmouth for another 10 years.

The MOD has awarded a £270 million contract to upgrade the Royal Navy’s Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

The Spearfish programme supports 60 jobs in Portsmouth where the torpedo is designed and manufactured with an additional 40 new skilled engineering vacancies being recruited for to work on the programme by BAE Systems.

The company also estimates that hundreds of jobs will be sustained in the company’s supply chain.

This year the MOD has already awarded BAE Systems a £600 million contract to run Portsmouth Naval Base and a £70 million Type 45 destroyer support contract that combined sustains more than 2,000 jobs in the Portsmouth region, including skilled engineering roles.

A Spearfish torpedo being loaded into a Royal Navy submarine
A Spearfish torpedo being loaded into a Royal Navy submarine [Picture: Copyright BAE Systems]

Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said:

This contract award is good news for the Royal Navy, the UK and the city of Portsmouth where around 100 engineering jobs will be created or sustained.

Portsmouth continues to play a significant part in defence as illustrated by this contract award and has a bright future ahead of it thanks to recent investment such as the £600 milliion contract to run the naval base, sustaining thousands of jobs, and the upcoming £100 million of infrastructure work to prepare the city for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.

The Spearfish Upgrade includes a new warhead, a change to the fuel system to improve safety, full digitisation of the weapon and a new fibre optic guidance link to improve performance.

They are carried by the Royal Navy’s Astute, Vanguard and Trafalgar Class submarines and can target both underwater and surface threats.

Once the torpedo has been fired Spearfish homes in on its target using sonar and will be controlled by the submarine after launch via the new fibre optic link.