By MarEx 2015-08-14 20:30:53
The U.K.’s latest attack submarine, HMS Artful, built by BAE Systems, has set sail from the shipyard’s facility for sea trials.
Nearly ten and a half years after first steel was cut, HMS Artful departed Barrow in the U.K. on Thursday to begin its maiden trials – 15 months after it was rolled out of the construction hall at BAE Systems’ yard.
Commanding Officer Commander Scott Bower guided the Astute-class submarine out of Devonshire Dock and out into the open waters of the Irish Sea. There its systems will be tested before heading to Faslane in Scotland, the base of the other submarines of its class HMS Astute and Ambush.
Bower said: “I am immensely proud and honored to be leading the crew of Artful. Her capabilities are extraordinary and represent the next step in our country’s century-long history of operating submarines.”
The design and build of the Astute class is a highly complex engineering feat likened to building a space shuttle. The 7,400-tonne attack submarines measure 97 meters and are powered by nuclear reactors. Each submarine is armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles.
Artful is the third Astute class submarine to have been built by BAE Systems. Seven of the class have been commissioned and the remaining four boats are currently under construction.
“The crew, alongside the workers at BAE Systems, have done a sterling job in generating more than a million parts into a submarine,” said Bower. “Artful will be home to more than 100 men and can spend months at a time submerged. She is able to generate her own air and water; food will be her only limiting factor.”
In the 15 months since the submarine entered the water, Artful has undergone numerous tests of its propulsion and power systems – notably the nuclear reactor – and carried out a partial dive in the dock. It’s wide and long enough to accommodate an A-boat, but at only 82 feet, the waters are not deep enough to submerge the Astutes entirely.
The 100-strong crew have gone through similarly-exhaustive instruction and practice, culminating in an assessment by the team from the Flag Officer Sea Training just before Artful put to sea.
Artful will follow the earlier Astute-class submarines to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland. It is the second vessel of the name in the Royal Navy. The first was also a submarine, an A-class boat launched on May 22, 1947 and commissioned on February 2, 1948.