Anson, the fifth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy, has been launched at our site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Anson will now begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme, before leaving Barrow for sea trials with the Royal Navy next year. The Astute class boats are the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.The 7,400-tonne nuclear-powered submarine, officially named at a ceremony in December, emerged from the Devonshire Dock Hall.
The launch was a special moment for the Barrow shipyard, which is celebrating its 150th year and a long and proud relationship with the Royal Navy. The first four submarines in the class, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, have been handed over to the Royal Navy, with a further two boats currently under construction at Barrow site. Working alongside the Submarine Delivery Agency and Rolls-Royce helping to deliver the UK’s next class of nuclear deterrent submarines.
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 Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness. 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.
The Astute class has stowage for 38 weapons and would typically carry a mix of Spearfish heavy torpedoes and Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles, the latter costing £870,000 each. The Tomahawk missiles are capable of hitting a target to within a few metres, to a range of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres). For detecting enemy ships and submarines, the Astute class is equipped with the sophisticated Sonar 2076, an integrated passive/active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays.