Richard Drake, Managing Director of Mission Systems, Babcock.
Back in 2003, when Richard Drake, Managing Director of Mission Systems at Babcock (LON: BAB) – an international aerospace, defense, and security expert with a global end-to-end naval business – traveled around the globe to South Korea, he and his team set in motion a chain of events that would lead to a robust and long-term relationship between the company and the country’s government.
South Korea required a solution to launch torpedoes and missiles from their first indigenously designed Jangbogo Class- III submarines. The team at Babcock spent six years working with government and non-government agencies, assisting them in the early design phases and helping them develop a weapon handling launch system that addressed their specific challenges. Babcock has the contract for five Jangbogo Class- III submarines, the first of which is already commissioned. Babcock is also working closely on a new indigenous surface fleet program and has invested in-country with refurbished MRO facilities and in-country director. Reminiscing about the time he spent with the local authorities in South Korea, Drake adds, “For us, it’s a long-term partnership. Our teams are ready to spend time with customers right from the beginning and stick with them throughout the process.” This collaboration is a stark representation of Babcock’s commitment towards ensuring its clients leverage the latest available technologies in the defense arena to improve their security competence.
Owing to its longstanding experience, Babcock comprehensively understands the technical requirements of its clients, works with local partners to develop relevant designs, invests in-country, and transfers the IP to the governments and their navies for developing those solutions. As opposed to offering a single product or service, Babcock offers a diverse portfolio of weapon handling and launch equipment, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, submarine and surface ship equipment, Very Low Frequency (VLF) to High Frequency (HF) military communication systems, and more.
In addition, the company offers asset management, maritime training, information and intelligence, facilities and infrastructure management, and several other services. Having acquired more UK-based contracts than any other organization in this arena, Babcock represents the internationally recognized standards of the Royal Navy–the impetus behind the company’s drive to provide premium quality products. Babcock is currently building the Royal Navy’s new type 31 Inspiration Class frigates, based on the company’s Arrowhead 140 platform.
The warship ensures high operability, responsiveness, flexibility, and survivability while also being extremely cost-effective. Apart from the Royal Navy, Babcock has sold one license to the Indonesian Navy for two frigates and Poland has selected Babcock as the platform design provider for its frigate program. Owing to the remarkable characteristics of the frigate, Babcock is observing a growing interest across the globe apropos of Arrowhead 140 and preparing to meet these demands head-on. The company also has contracts with the New Zealand government, offering HF communication products.
Complementing Babcock’s products are its long-term support services, where it conducts asset management, upgraded overhaul management of equipment, deep maintenance, and engineering support. Apart from its products and services, Babcock also renders high levels of flexibility, opportunities for improvement, and modification while developing the solutions. “Companies in developing nations and countries with smaller navies don’t necessarily have a lot of capital, but they specifically know what they require. We stand out from our competitors because we can maximize their capability with the available capital,” extols Drake. Upholding its customer-centric and proactive operational characteristics, Babcock is currently evaluating ways to utilize digitalization to enhance its support services and make a difference in its clients’ operations by leveraging various digital environments.
Companies in developing nations and nations with smaller navies don’t necessarily have a lot of capital, but they specifically know what they require. For us to be able to maximize their capability for their capital is where we stand out from our competitors
Babcock aims to bring more value to its customers by utilizing contemporary technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, fundamentally improving the overall performance of its solutions. Given the rising prevalence of submarine programs and underwater applications, Babcock invests in the R&D of highly-automated autonomous solutions and underwater vessels. Having a footprint across the UK, EU, Canada, South Africa, and Australasia, Babcock envisions adding substantial value to AUKUS and providing its abundant experience in submarines to the participating nations.