Artful, the third of the U.K. Royal Navy’s new Astute Class attack submarines, has arrived at her Scottish base port from where she will carry out sea trials before entering service later this year, the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced.
The 7,400-metric-ton, 97-meter-long Artful left BAE Systems’ construction yard at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria several days ago before sailing to her new home at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde.
HMNB Clyde will become a home for the Royal Navy’s submarines and associated support by 2020, creating a submarine centre of specialization. The base is among the largest single-site employers in Scotland, with 6,700 military and civilian personnel, increasing under current U.K. Government plans to 8,200 by 2022.
“The arrival of Artful to HMNB Clyde clearly shows that the U.K. Government is firmly committed to the future of defense in Scotland, this is the latest addition to what will be the home of all Royal Navy submarines by 2020,” said Defense Minister, Philip Dunne.
“The Astute submarine program is a key part of our £163 billion equipment plan which has been bolstered by the commitment to increase defense spending and meet the NATO pledge of two percent of our national income for the rest of this decade.
“The Astute Class are amongst the most advanced submarines operating in the world today and provide the Royal Navy with the capability it needs to defend U.K. interests at home and overseas.”
Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, Artful can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen and fresh water from seawater as they go. Her dive endurance is limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew.
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Artful will be able to strike at targets up to 1,200 kilometers from the coast with pinpoint accuracy.
The Astute class is the first class of Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead they employ high specification video technology. The images are delivered into the submarine control room via fiber-optic cables. Around 110 kilometers of cabling and pipe work is installed on board Artful.
The Sonar 2076 sonar suite fitted on board Artful has the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers. It has the world’s largest number of hydrophones, providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today.
Chief of Materiel Fleet, Vice Admiral Simon Lister described Artful’s arrival at her home port as a key milestone in the Astute class submarine program. “The build of the first two Astute Class submarines has taught us many lessons, Lister said. “Artful can soon begin operations as the newest submarine in the Royal Navy.”
Lessons learned from the construction of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush will allow Artful to progress to Contractor’s Sea Trials in a significantly advanced material state than her predecessors.