Measuring nearly one hundred metres from bow to stern, Astute is longer than ten London buses. When fully loaded, she will displace 7,800 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
The Astute submarine has the latest stealth technology, a world-beating sonar system and is armed with 38 torpedoes and missiles – more than any previous Royal Navy submarine. She will be able to circumnavigate the globe while submerged, and advanced nuclear technology means that she will never need to be refuelled.
Astute will be followed in due course by her sister submarines Ambush, Artful and Audacious. These four comprise the first of the expected seven submarines in the Astute Class. The Astute class will carry the potent Spearfish Heavyweight torpedo which can destroy submarines or surface ships, and Tomahawk cruise missiles that can hit inland targets with pinpoint accuracy. The boats will have 50 per cent more firepower than the existing Trafalgar class submarines they will succeed in service.
After touring Astute, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
This is a significant milestone for Astute as she arrives for the first time in her homeport of Faslane. The Astute class of submarines will deliver a step change in capability for defence in terms of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, protecting the deterrent, providing land attack and intelligence gathering. Astute will now begin a set of sea trials ahead of her full acceptance with the Royal Navy next year.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said:
The Astute Class is truly next generation. They are immensely powerful vessels and they will form a key part of our future programme, giving the Royal Navy the versatility and technical excellence needed to operate successfully across the globe.
Astute is a joint warfighting asset and I look forward to her entry into service, along with that of her six sisters which include Ambush, Artful and Audacious.
Commodore Chris Hockley, the Naval Base Commander at HM Naval Base Clyde, said:
I am particularly pleased and excited at the prospect of welcoming Astute to her home Base today. There has been significant investment and preparations made over several years to prepare us for this occasion.
The Clyde will become a centre of specialisation for submarines, and, of course, submarine training. With the arrival of Astute I cannot think of a more exciting time to be a submariner.
Notes to Editors
1.For more information, please contact Lisa Murphy of the DEwww.defencenewsimagery.mod.uk in the package 16112009c.
3.HM Naval Base Clyde is the biggest single site employer in Scotland and the biggest military establishment in Scotland. More than 6,000 people are employed directly and an estimated 4,000 more rely on the base economically.
4.Astutes arrival begins a process that will see HM Naval Base Clyde become the UKs sole operating submarine base over the next decade. To this end, infrastructure improvements and spends have included:
150 million on new single living accommodation for submariners and other associated functions;
150 million on a new high tech floating jetty which will eventually service all the Royal Navys hunter-killer attack submarines.