A 15-year agreement between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and QinetiQ was announced today which secures access for the MOD, other government and commercial customers to QinetiQ's diverse range of maritime facilities and subject expertise. The agreement, called the Maritime Strategic Capabilities Agreement (MSCA), is worth more than £150m over the next 15 years. It gives access to QinetiQ’s facilities and expertise for optimising anything that moves in or on water, from ships to divers to tidal turbines.
Baroness Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment & Support made the announcement in front of QinetiQ’s ocean basin at Gosport, Hampshire. The ocean basin is the largest freshwater tank in Europe with the capacity of 16 Olympic swimming pools and is used to assess the manoeuvrability of scale ship and submarine models in different sea conditions. Next door the 270 metre-long ship tank is used to test the stability and propulsion of ships and submarines or the effectiveness of power-generating tidal turbines.
“Through the MSCA, QinetiQ will continue to deliver critical facilities that help the Royal Navy save lives, time and money,” commented Clive Richardson, QinetiQ’s chief operating officer for Europe, Middle East and Australasia. “Under the agreement, MOD and other customers will continue to benefit from the expertise of 80 QinetiQ employees at our facilities in the Portsmouth area and in Rosyth in Scotland, supported by many others from across our maritime business.
“The MSCA also gives us a strong platform on which to attract further commercial business to the facilities. It means we can make a real contribution to driving down commercial marine research costs while developing environmentally-friendly technologies in sectors such as tidal power generation."
Additional QinetiQ facilities secured under the MSCA include a shock test facility at Rosyth, Scotland, which can assess the amount of pressure ships and submarines can withstand by pounding their structures with forces equivalent to a Force-10 storm, and a hyperbaric medicine unit at Gosport used to treat decompression illness (the bends) and other medical conditions.
The UK government has negotiated a facility sharing agreement with the French government as part of the MSCA that allows the UK to use the cavitation tunnel at Val de Reuil, in return for French use of the ocean basin at Gosport. Both nations signed a Statement of Intent in March 2008, working towards a long term legal agreement by mid 2009.
Making the announcement, Minister for Defence Equipment & Support, Baroness Taylor said: “As part of the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), the MOD is committed to investing in high level technical expertise in the UK to sustain a dynamic engineering industry. Hydromechanics, Submarine Structures and Life Support are three key areas for such investment. Today’s contract with QinetiQ will provide access to advanced modelling of submarine hull forms for the MOD’s future submarine programme, and hydrodynamic facilities for the detailed testing of the innovative hull to be used by the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers.”
Rear Admiral Tibbitt, Director General Safety and Engineering at MOD Defence Equipment & Support added: “The Maritime Strategic Capability Agreement secures the long term availability of cutting edge submarine and marine science expertise, it supports the continued safe running of today’s flotilla, which is a duty of care that we must exercise, and will enable the design of future submarines and vessels, such as the Vanguard Class successor.”
As part of the MSCA, the MOD can task QinetiQ to meet specific programme requirements and ‘call off’ a range of additional activities, providing them with flexibility to access additional expertise and extra capacity to meet both urgent operational requirements and future programme developments. Today's agreement facilitates further investment in these key facilities to ensure they continue to meet MOD’s ongoing requirements and those of other government and commercial customers.
QinetiQ's ocean basin at Gosport, Hampshire is the largest freshwater tank in Europe and is used to assess the manoeuvrability of scale ship and submarine models in different sea conditions.