All that trouble...
...just to deliver some chocolates...
A groundbreaking new miniature submarine in use by the US Navy's secretive, elite frogman-commando special operations force was actually designed and built in old Blighty, the Reg can reveal. We reported first on the S301 mini-sub two weeks ago, noting from federal documents that the famous US Navy SEALs had leased a …
Well, MSub needs to find a sponsor to develop an extra "Lunch" budget to ensure mutual interest with the MOD. Without that it does not stand a chance to win any business in the UK.
It is generally 90-95% of the cost (as Northrop has managed to demonstrate in such a succinct manner).
"At any rate, it's a nice success story to round off the week with - and perhaps a further illustration of just why British engineering and manufacturing is so far from dead, and of the type of jobs we should nationally be looking to do."
What? Building hi-tech delivery craft for neoprene clad assassins?
I thought El Reg was above supporting the military-industrial-entertainment complex.
El Reg does not support 'the military-industrial-entertainment". El Reg does support any good point for Britain's industry and know-how, as well as giving brownie points for anything that supports its troops efficiently.
As for your slur on the honorable men that take risks beyond your imagination and put their lives on the line at the whim of paper pushers way higher up on the food chain, I prefer not to respond.
... be carried by a Chinook?
A: Nope (AFAIK). The S301 is claimed as 13tons and - as best as I can see - the Chinook can only carry 10-11tons.
Great article - nice to see that a UK company is up with the market leaders. Just a shame that the MoD procurement folks seem to be fixed to the 'usual suspects', and hence won't be able to use the excellence 'on their doorstep'..
Strangely enough, the quote from the company reminds me of the attitude we (I used to work for a part of MoD) had before some 'genius' decided to privatise us - the privatisation giving the result that costs went sky-high and the amount of quality work went down. Go figure!
...is scary, IMO.
I've had some experience dealing with british built technology and the attitude of some modern engineers from UK.
Suffice it to say I have had some problems, especially with electrical things and water. Like, a complete lack of understanding to the fact that if electrics are not properly sealed but should be used in any weather they tend to stop working if water gets into the circuits.
And opening the box up, drying it out and then filling it with grease is not a solution, it's a stop-gap measure at best.
This matches the reputation british cars (and other mobile machines) have had for a few decades.
Now, this sub has to be POWERED by electricity and should work in SALT WATER... I can imagine a few problems there. My trust in the brits does not cover this, although the mechanical designs, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics etc. can be brilliant.
Do. Not. Let. Them. Touch. The. Electrics/Electronics!
I can see that you have probably had experience with Lucas Electrics, the famed "supplier" of electrics on Land Rovers for many years...and as a former Landie owner, I've heard all the horror stories and seen some myself - many of which sound exactly like what you describe.
But the general quality of UK marine electronics, is much, much better than that rep - witness Raymarine, TackTick and other top-notch suppliers of nautical electronics being based here in the UK. The UK has a strong nautical industry that makes some of the world's best marine electronics, which you can find on everything from performance dinghies to the world's best superyachts. So yes, some parts of the UK's electrics may still not be up to snuff, but in terms of marine electrics, the UK can be world class.
Hmm ...... probably as bad as they're reputed to be.
On the other hand, the all-time worst electrics I ever had were on the last car I had in North America -- a Pontiac on which the ignition died every time it saw a puddle. And that was the same car on which the old-fashioned dipswitch (still on the floor, c 1978) failed and I was told I really should clean my feet before using it ! And no wonder the Pontiac brand is being brought to an end -- the last one I hired was in late 2007 -- brand new, but the boot light kept dropping out of position. As cheap and nasty as I've seen on anything, and that was on a high-spec model..
And the second-most annoying vehicle electrically -- just to spread the blame around a bit -- was the previous car, a Plymouth Fury III where no-one seemed able to make the horn work. It turned out that a limited number had been turned out with the horn relay incorporated in an undocumented fashion in the same sealed box as another relay.
Compared to those, LandRover electrics (and yes, I've had a few of those and there are three currently in the household) have been rather less problematic electrically.
Interesting that Ari 1 should refer to
"a complete lack of understanding to the fact that if electrics are not properly sealed but should be used in any weather they tend to stop working if water gets into the circuits.
And opening the box up, drying it out and then filling it with grease is not a solution, it's a stop-gap measure at best."
A number of years ago one of my sons went from the UK to New Jersey as a student to work for the summer vacation as a fairground ride operator. He very quickly got offered a job as a sparky because none of the American sparkies seemed to understand what was necessary to keep the equipment operating when subjected to salt spray and blown sand. And so desperate was the owner of the operation that not only did the said son have a job for his subsequent summer vacations, but they tried very hard to get him to work there permanently as head of maintenance.
The worst places you can have an electrical fire are any time you are in an enclosed vehicle in a critical environment.
Electrical fires in space stations, airplanes, submarines, ships. In this order.
These are some of the scariest/most lethal emergency situations you can find yourself in.
And seeing that these energetic battery packs are most likely to fail if there is an electrical problem (thermal runaway due to problems with discharge/recharge) I must say that I would prefer the tube launch to mechanics I don't trust.
We invented a clever little device that lets soldiers, in say Afghanistan, hit the bad guys rather accurately without having to put their heads where it might get blown off.
The forces loved it - performed great in tests and the not -getting-head-blown-off bonus proved popular.
Then we met the MoD - would love to buy it if we formed a consortium with BAe and Thales (and possibly the Empire from Star Wars). These companies merely wanted us to put up about 10x the value of our company in guarantees in return for us getting BuggerAll% of the sales after they had been through BAe's accountants.
So we found some foreign chaps to sell them to - they are so pleased they gave us a grant to transfer all the manufacturing to their country as well.
"Then we met the MoD - would love to buy it if we formed a consortium with BAe and Thales (and possibly the Empire from Star Wars). These companies merely wanted us to put up about 10x the value of our company in guarantees in return for us getting BuggerAll% of the sales after they had been through BAe's accountants."
It appears the MoD (and AFAIK the DoD is rather similar) because they like the idea that someone can absorb the overheads of their *huge* paper trails.
The real question *any* company should ask the MoD is *why* do we need to do this?
NB The MoD, unlike the DoD (as part of the US Govt) *cannot* unilaterally cancel contracts without compensation.
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