The fourth submarine in the new Astute class, the Audacious, has been launched at BAE Systems Barrow-in-Furness site.
Weighing in at 7,400 tonnes, the 97m nuclear-powered submarine was lowered into the water at the end of April in time to begin the next phase of tests and commissioning. The sub is due to start sea trials next year.
HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful are the first three submarines in the class and are in service. The final three Astute class submarines are at various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
BAE Systems is the prime contractor for the Astute programme, as the UK’s only designer and builder of nuclear powered submarines. The Company is also the lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines, with construction due to start next year.
Will Blamey, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: “Today’s launch marks an important milestone in the Astute programme and demonstrates our pride in building submarines for the Royal Navy. Audacious enters the water in a more advanced state of build than any previous Astute class submarine, which puts us in a good position for the next phase of work – the testing and commissioning of her complex systems.
“Designing and building a nuclear-powered submarine is extremely challenging and today’s launch is yet another reminder of the unique skills required to deliver such complex programmes. We now look forward to working alongside Audacious’ crew to prepare her for sea trials, before she joins her sister submarines in service with the Royal Navy.”
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines Rear Admiral John Weale said: “It’s an exciting moment to see Audacious enter the water for the first time ahead of trials. Such a feat of engineering is testament to the skills of the BAE Systems workforce in Barrow. As part of an increasingly capable Royal Navy, Audacious will go on to serve on operations right around the world, helping keep Britain safe.”
Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, Audacious is one of the most capable submarines being built for the Royal Navy, with the ability to strike at targets up to 1,000km from the coast and are equipped with a world-leading sonar capability.
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