HMS Astute commissioned into navy
27 August 2010
The UK's most powerful attack submarine, HMS Astute, has been commissioned into the Royal Navy.
In a ceremony overseen by the boat's patron, the Duchess of Cornwall, Astute officially became 'Her Majesty's Ship'.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said: "The Astute Class is truly next generation - a highly versatile platform, she is capable of contributing across a broad spectrum of maritime operations around the globe, and will play an important role in delivering the fighting power of the Royal Navy for decades to come. A highly complex feat of naval engineering, she is at the very cutting edge of technology, with a suite of sensors and weapons required to pack a powerful punch.
"Today is an important milestone along the road to full operational capability which will follow after a further series of demanding seagoing trials testing the full range of the submarine's capabilities."
Rear Admiral Simon Lister, Director of Submarines, who oversees the build programme of the class for the MoD, said: "To my mind Astute is a 7,000 tonne Swiss watch. There is an extraordinary amount of expertise that goes into putting one of these submarines together. There are stages when it's like blacksmithing and there are stages when it's like brain surgery.
"So to see Astute commissioned is momentous not only for the Royal Navy, who have been eagerly anticipating this quantum leap forward in capability, but for the thousands of people around the country who have been involved in the most challenging of engineering projects."
HMS Astute is fifty per cent bigger than any attack submarine in the Royal Navy's current fleet but is also quieter than any of her predecessors. Astute will never need to be refuelled and can theoretically circumnavigate the world submerged, creating the crew's oxygen and drinking water from seawater.
The submarine has the capacity to carry a mix of up to 38 Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise missiles – and can target submarines, surface ships and land targets. The boat's sonar system has a range of 3,000 nautical miles.
Astute is the first Royal Navy submarine not to have a traditional periscope, instead using electro-optics to capture a 360-degree image of the surface for subsequent analysis by the commanding officer.