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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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BAE Systems Barrow built Astute in battle with USS New Mexico

A BARROW-BUILT submarine battled against an American vessel in a series of underwater war games.

The chiefs of the UK and US navies, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, went onboard HMS Astute and USS New Mexico to test out their newest submarines.

HMS Astute, which was built in Barrow and launched in 2007, showed off her top-of-the-range technology and went up against the Virginia class American submarine as crews battled against each other in an underwater exercise in the Atlantic.

The historic first undersea meeting of the leaders of the world’s most powerful navies provided a unique opportunity to see the future of undersea superiority in real time.

Astute’s commanding officer, Commander Sir Iain Breckenridge, said he was honoured to host both service chiefs during the exercise and proud to showcase the performance of his boat and crew.

He said: “HMS Astute is still very much in trials. To have the chance to go up against what is a very capable and very proven submarine, the Virginia-class, USS New Mexico has been really good fun.

“The great thing about the fellowship exercise is the CNO and my first sea lord are going to the New Mexico to pretty much watch the same sort of runs in close proximity action that they saw my team operate here. One of the key things about fellowship is that the heads of service get a view of what they’ve seen in one boat, they then go see in the next boat and can make a direct comparison.”

Several cat-and-mouse war game scenarios were played out during the exercise. It allowed the New Mexico and Astute submariners to show their skills and test the full capabilities of their boat.

The UK’s chief of naval staff, Sir Mark, said: “Here we are on the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center range with the best that the UK can deliver to the future in submarining terms and the best that the US can deliver to the future in submarining terms, both recognising we need to continue to advance to keep up with the challenges the future will undoubtedly bring to us.

“By doing so we undoubtedly demonstrate the huge and deeply significant links that we have.”

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