Britain, France and Norway have placed a £47 million order with Rolls Royce for a high-tech international rescue system to help crews escape from sunken submarines.
The three-nation initiative the Nato Submarine Rescue System, or NSRS will be based around a 32 foot, 27 ton submarine operated by a crew of three which can dive to a stricken boat and dock with it to rescue the crew.
Staff based in Scotland will be able to respond with 72 hours to emergency calls from anywhere in the world, said the Ministry of Defence.
This system will give us and our partners the most effective submarine rescue system available, said Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach.
Our submarines are painstakingly designed with safety in mind and their safety record is impeccable, but they operate in the harshest of environments and it is vital we have an effective rescue capability.
Rolls Royce will also supply an unmanned craft which will locate sunken submarines, decompression chambers, medical facilities and other support equipment. The contract also covers support and operation of the system for the first 10 years of its life.
The new system replaces the current rescue submarine based on the LR5 submersible vessel, which is reaching the end of its life.
The NSRS, which will be based at a Royal Navy base on the Clyde, will be owned by Britain, France and Norway but operated by a contractor.
It will go into service at the end of 2006 and run for 25 years.