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Warwick engineering students design world beating submarine


A submarine designed and built by engineering students at the University of Warwick was awarded 1st Prize for Innovation at the 2015 the International Submarine Races (ISR).

Held at the Carderock Naval Facility at Bethesda, Maryland USA, the ISR competition saw a team of eight students from the University’s School of Engineering compete against 30 international teams to race a one-person, pedal powered submarine.

TeamThe award-winning team, comprising of Richard Freeman, Theo Saville, Sam Clifton, Rupert Barnard, Stuart Snow, Jack Fairweather, Verity Armstrong and Matt Shanahan, were the second most-highly decorated entry after receiving an Honourable Mention in the Best Design Report Award and $1000 prize money.

2015 marks second year that Warwick students have entered competition. The 2014 team achieved second place in the UK and fourth in the world.

One of the biggest engineering challenges that faced the team was how to economically transport the submarine across the Atlantic. Fully assembled, the submarine is too big to fit inside standard packing crates making air freight travel very expensive.

Project Leader Richard Freeman explained; “We managed to reduce flight costs by designing a 'fold away' submarine; the chassis can be dismantled into four separate sections and can be packed up into a far smaller crate”. The work results in a transportable, world-beating innovative design.

The competition itself is recognised globally as an opportunity for some of the best students, from a host of universities, to demonstrate their knowledge and passion for engineering,

Students are required to work as a team applying the skills learnt on their course to a practical application. The culmination of the project in the UK is a week-long event where teams are assessed on a variety of criteria, following the completion of straight-line and slalom courses. The overall winner is determined on the basis of design, manufacture, performance and lessons learned. Awards also include those for speed, agility, innovation and presentation.

Warwick may have a handful of places available in clearing for Engineering in 2015. Warwick’s clearing hotline number is: 024 7653 3544.

14 August 2015


Warwick Submarine can be found on Facebook

The team’s existing sponsors include;

  • 3M Marine – complex adhesives and other construction materialsStoney
  • Cove/Underwater World – Diving equipment, training and an exhibition stand at the London International Dive Show 2014
  • Penso – Financial backing in return for assistance with their graduate recruitment
  • HydroRiderTM – pilot training equipment in the form of their Aquabike Professional (aquatic indoor stationary bike)
  • Diving direct – Air cylinders and other diving ancilliariesSugru – supplies of their self-setting rubber compound for ergonomic optimisation


Tom Frew - International Press Officer

Email: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk

Tel: +44 (0)247 657 5910

Mob: +44 (0)7785 433 155