Delivering complex engineering design capability

Our Engineering Design expertise enables us to deliver independent complex engineering design capabilities for UK and international defense customers.

Contact Us

Key contact

Paul Burke

Business Development Manager - Submarines

Bath, UK


We pride ourselves on being a leading independent centre for defense engineering design and are equipped to tackle the most complex design and systems issues.

  • In the early phases of the project lifecycle we have a portfolio of submarine concept designs which we can develop to meet your needs.
  • During detailed design and manufacture we can support design assurance, applying valuable experience gained as client advisor on submarine programmes such as the SEA1000 in Australia and the New Norwegian Submarine Programme.
  • During the in-service phase we can provide design change services and provide the expertise needed to ensure that design intent is maintained through life. We have supported each of the UK’s new and future submarine programmes since the concept design of Batch 2 Trafalgar (which evolved into the Astute Class).


Concept and whole ship design

In uncertain economic times, submarine concept design becomes an increasingly important phase in meeting the demand for cost effectiveness in defense procurement, with the majority of programme costs being committed.  In order to make key decisions early in the programme and ensure that value for money is achieved, requirements and the manner in which they are met in the design need to be fully understood. As part of this possible trades need to be identified in order to ensure that capability requirements are met, the chosen design is suitable for construction within the constraints of available technology, and that resources and costs are available and affordable.

Due to the inherent complexity of modern submarines, the process of selecting a preferred design requires the iterative process and comparison of a decreasing number of multiple design strategies in terms of:

  • Technical and performance characteristics feasibility
  • Total cost of ownership including Non-Recurring Expenditure, Unit Production Costs and Through Life Costs
  • Programme implications and design strategy risks
  • Commercial procurement strategy

Acting as a customer friend as the design evolves, we also bring the skills necessary for technical assurance of the whole boat design.

Hydrodynamics: understanding of the evolution of submarine hull form (resistance, powering, manoeuvring n control); application of empirical formulae and CFD modelling; physical validation of hydrodynamic performance.

Weight and buoyancy: ensuring the design balances throughout the lifecycle through pro-active weight management, the use of hydrostatics modelling tools that grow alongside the design and challenging and controlling margins allowances.

Safety: we evaluate design against key safety functions such as watertight integrity, handling of ordnance, fire-fighting and escape, rescue and abandonment, and are part of the UK delegation that attends the NATO Submarine Escape & Rescue Working Group.

Availability: our concept designs reflect an understanding of the features that contribute most to the achievement of an available submarine.

Design for Support: in-service support activities are often not considered adequately during the design phase which results in the cost and duration of support activities being driven upwards. 

Our design teams have a wide range of experience across the lifecycle of a platform and are able to consider support activities as the design is developed. Thus the design is optimised to enable support activities.

Post design services and engineering

The essential experience gained by BMT's multi-disciplined teams through concept and whole ship design work means that we are ideally placed to conduct design assurance activities, to support in maintenance of design intent through life and to develop system or equipment design change solutions.

We are able to provide independent engineering design services to both client and supplier organisations.  Technical assurance of our outputs is central to our methodology, supports decision making and reduces the risk of re-work and delays. Maintaining design intent through life is a challenge and the importance is often lost in the pressures of delivering during the in-service phase. This can have serious safety implications as well as driving in-efficiencies in delivery of in-service availability, driving up in-service support costs.

We have a full range of capabilities for provision of post-design services, ranging from development of in-service support solutions to provision of those services, including provision of design changes, authoring of technical documentation and provision of configuration management services. 

Our design capabilities cover the full spectrum, including:

  • Marine Power and Propulsion
  • Structural Design and Analysis
  • Systems Engineering
  • Technical Assurance and reporting
  • Technology Management
  • Naval Design and Engineering
  • Acquisition Support
  • Combat Systems Engineering
  • Hydrodynamics
  • In-Service Support
  • Software DevelopmentTechnical Documentation
  • Engineering Surveys
  • Obsolescence management
  • Design Change and Modifications


Is the platform safe or not? The importance of safety is recognised by all but the sheer complexity of a platform, the number of stakeholders involved and complex regulatory regimes and underpinning processes can all undermine your confidence in the safety of a platform design or a design change to a platform.

BMT has experience of developing and applying safety management approaches under a range of safety regulation, policy and guidance, across high-hazard domains. Our approach to safety management follows the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)-recommended four stage cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act) and combines this with best practice built from our pan-domain experience. Our technical expertise is founded upon in-depth knowledge and capability in safety and environmental regulation and management systems. We can ensure to the client a cost effective and pragmatic, compliance to regulations, standards and legislation.