HAMPSHIRE based BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have signed a new three-year research contract, worth £32m, to explore the next generation of naval vessels.

A BAE Systems team from its naval ships and submarines businesses will deliver research into the future of the navy's capabilities both above and below the water.

Known as the Maritime Collaborative Enterprise (MarCE), it will bring together specialists in combat systems from Naval Ships and Submarines, both part of BAE Systems Maritime, with other companies, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and academia to provide the MOD with expertise and innovation above and underwater.

BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines Combat Systems Director Ian Hawkes added: “This is a great opportunity for innovators to get involved, bringing their ideas and expertise to the maritime domain. The Collaborative Enterprise is a good basis for productive working relationships between diverse organisations.”