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National Museum convenes Submarine industry event to discuss the future of the continuous at sea deterrent

In the week a £2.5bn investment in the Submarine Service was announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, The National Museum of the Royal Navy has hosted the annual Submarine Industry Association (SIA) dinner attended by key Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy senior personnel and industry chief executives and senior directors.

Traditionally a fundraiser for the National Museum’s HMS Alliance at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport, this year’s dinner also coincides with the opening, on 15 June, of the museum’s landmark conference and permanent exhibition “Silent and Secret” which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the nuclear at sea deterrent’s first operational patrol.

Held at Trinity House, London, the Submarine Industry Association is an exclusive evening open to those companies who are involved in the construction and maintenance of submarines. It is convened by the National Museum of the Royal Navy to provide a historical context to the submarine service.

The sponsors of the event were defence contractors Newton, Survitec, Babcock, Cohort, Atlas Electronics, Sonardyne and Ultra Electronics. Other attendees included representatives from Rolls Royce, BMT, Lockheed Martin, QinetiQ and Atkins. National Museum Chairman and former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, GCB DL and Director General Professor Dominic Tweddle attended.

Paul Elgood, Executive Secretary of SIA said: “A truly wonderful occasion at London's magnificent Trinity House for the Submarine Industry Association Dinner in aid of HMS Alliance and the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. 70 submarine industry leaders and senior Royal Navy and MOD officers came together to discuss the future of the submarine service in a historical context. A fascinating evening and it is great to see the National Museum of the Royal Navy convening this important historical debate both on the evening and through its “Silent & Secret Conference” in June. Thank you to the event's sponsors and guests - a full house from the industry sector.”

The evening is held under Chatham House rules, but gives attendees the opportunity to discuss past and future issues for the submarine sector. The views discussed reflected:

  • The fast moving pace of change in the sector and the need to develop a step change in submarine performance.
  • The very significant impact of the delivery of dreadnought as ‘a true national endeavour’ - constructing one of the most complex machines on the planet must be an enduring process.
  • The  need to keep abreast of the rapidly changing technologies - to be ready to take risks and be fast to learn.
  • The importance of keeping the continuous at sea deterrent (CASD) at the forefront of public debate.
  • The historical context of CASD.

Earlier this week, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP named the newest of the submarines as HMS Agincourt, in a statement he said: "This multibillion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats.

"Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy's seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face."

The debate will continue at a special conference, convened by the National Museum of the Royal and open to the public. The conference includes sessions on the cases both for and against CASD, as well as the historical context of such a deterrent for the submarine service. See the full agenda here

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