The fourth Astute class submarine, Audacious, which is being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, has achieved a significant milestone by completing her first ever dive. The trim and basin dive took place over two days in Devonshire Dock, at the Company’s site in Barrow-in-Furness last week. The operation, which saw Audacious submerge fully under water for the first time, tested many of her on-board systems, and proved the safety and stability of the 7,400-tonne, 97 metre-long attack submarine.
Employees from BAE Systems worked alongside Audacious’ crew, including its Commanding Officer, Captain Scott Bower, to complete the test.
Officially named in December 2016 and launched in April last year, Audacious is scheduled to leave Barrow for sea trials later this year.
HMS Astute, HMS Artful and HMS Ambush are already in-service with the Royal Navy. Boats 5 and 6, Anson and Agamemnon, along with a seventh, as yet unnamed, Astute-class submarine are in different stages of construction at the Barrow site.
The Astute class is the latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines (SSNs) in service with the Royal Navy. The class sets a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth. The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness. Seven boats will be constructed: the first of class, Astute, was launched by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in 2007, commissioned in 2010, and declared fully operational in May 2014. The Astute class is the replacement for the Trafalgar-class fleet submarines in Royal Navy service.
HMS Audacious is the fourth Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine of the Royal Navy. Several previous vessels of the Royal Navy have borne the name. She was formally named on 16 December 2016 and was launched on 28 April 2017. Audacious’s nuclear reactor will not need to be refuelled during the boat’s 25-year service. The submarine can purify water and air, and will be able to circumnavigate the planet without surfacing. However, she will only carry three months’ supply of food for 98 officers and ratings. Audacious will have provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. The submarine will be capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.