A contract for the first phase of a project to replace the Royal Navy's 22 year old LR5 submarine rescue submersible has been awarded to WS Atkins of Bristol. The future NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) will provide a rescue capability for the four NATO nations - France, Norway, Turkey and the UK - who are participating in the project. Along with a new United States rescue system, NSRS will form the cornerstone of an emerging worldwide submarine rescue capability.
The future NSRS project will be designed as the next generation and is expected provide a significant advance on anything in service around the world today. WS Atkins will lead a team of international experts to develop a multi-national system that will be compatible with almost all NATO and many non-NATO submarines. It will be capable of operating from a wide range of commercial and military motherships and be air-deployable worldwide at short notice. The nine month project definition contract, worth approximately £700,000, will identify and assess technology needed to procure, operate and support a new system due in service from 2005. The estimated whole life cost for one system is in the region of £120 million over 25 years.