Nissan and two of its major automotive suppliers who are based in Sunderland have teamed up to produce seats for a new state of the art Royal Navy submarine.

Lear and Adient, who are both Tier 1 suppliers to Nissan Sunderland, have been working closely with the carmaker and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to provide seats for HMS Anson.

The Sunderland-affiliated nuclear-powered submarine is 97 metres long and has a displacement of 7,800 tonnes. It is the fifth of seven in the Astute class, which are recognised as the most technologically advanced attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.

Nissan, who have recently announced the electrification of their Sunderland-built Juke and Qashqai models as part of a £500 million investment, provided their Zero Gravity Seats to be installed on HMS Anson which will be used for their Submarine Commander and Senior Engineer.

Nissan’s specially designed Zero Gravity seats use ergonomic technology to alleviate fatigue and pursue the ideal posture, using the NASA-measured “neutral posture”, to make long journeys more pleasant.

Keith Chambers, Production Control Director at Nissan Sunderland, said “We are extremely proud to provide two of our specially designed Zero Gravity car seats for the Royal Navy’s new submarine HMS Anson.

“The seats are from our newly electrified Juke Hybrid and Qashqai e-POWER models.

“It’s fantastic to team up with Sunderland City Council and two of our long-term local suppliers to add a flavour of our region’s automotive manufacturing excellence to the development of this state of the art submarine.”

Adient is a global leader in automotive seating, producing 100,000 seat sets every year from its plant on Wearside. Mick Flanagan, Vice President Customer Group at Adient, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to gift seats for this remarkable submarine.

“At Adient we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of industry trends and technologies and the technology in this vessel is truly cutting edge.”

Lear – a global automotive technology leader in seating and e-systems – has over 250 facilities in 38 countries, including at its Sunderland plant. Gideon Jewel, President Seating Europe, Africa & Middle East at Lear, said: “Lear always aim to offer support to the communities in which we do business.  Lear Sunderland is a high performing operation with a strong and diverse team supporting Nissan.”

“We are delighted to have had the chance to provide seating for a submarine of this calibre that like Lear has a strong affiliation with the city.”

HMS Anson is armed with Tomahawk land attack missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

The nuclear reactor onboard the vessel does not need to be refuelled during her 25-year service period. The ability to purify water and air means that its range is limited only by the amount of food onboard, as a result, the submarine is capable of circumnavigating the globe without resurfacing.

The project has also been supported by the business investment team at Sunderland City Council, which helped bring the group together.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “As a city that built ships for the world and now builds cars on a global scale, it’s great to see Sunderland’s past and present specialities combine on this amazing piece of engineering. We are very proud of our affiliation with this state of the art submarine.”

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