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First sea trials for BAE Systems Barrow submarine Astute

THE first of class Astute nuclear powered attack submarine is in its final preparations to leave Barrow for the first stage of sea trials.

The trials are designed to prove its capability as the most formidable vessel of its kind ever operated by the Royal Navy.

In coming weeks, the submarine is expected to leave the Devonshire Dock, which has been home to the submarine since its keel was laid in 2001. It will progress through the gates of the dock system to the sea.

Astute will travel to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, where the submarine will be based for its operational life.

During her transit from Barrow to Scotland – under the captaincy of Commander Andy Cole – Astute is scheduled to start sea trials that will continue for many months.

For much of that time the Royal Navy crew will be accompanied on board by BAE Systems engineers and technicians who will work alongside them to monitor and measure every element of the submarine’s performance against the design parameters.

BAE Systems will also have personnel based at Faslane to deliver the initial in-service support for the submarine.

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions managing director John Hudson said: “The departure of the first of class, Astute, will represent a significant milestone for both the business and the town of Barrow, which has seen the new class of submarine take shape.

“Everyone is immensely proud of this achievement and the work of our thousands of employees.

“It is an achievement shared by the Royal Navy crew and MoD personnel who have worked alongside us to create Astute, and our supply chain partners across the UK and beyond who have helped to develop and refine the technology which enables us to complete the build of the nuclear powered submarine which is one of the biggest engineering challenges in the world today.”

Astute is the most advanced attack submarine ever supplied to the Royal Navy, incorporating the latest stealth technology combined with a world beating sonar system and equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and state of the art Tomahawk land attack missiles to make her a supremely effective naval asset.

l See tomorrow’s Evening Mail for more on Astute, and visit www.nwemail.co.uk

Astute is designed to fulfil a range of key strategic and tactical roles including anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering and support for land forces. Displacing 7,400 tonnes and measuring 97 metres from bow to propulsor, Astute is significantly larger than the Swiftsure and Trafalgar class submarines that she will replace but requires fewer crew to operate her due to the advanced technology and automated systems on board.That technology encompasses many innovations designed to improve operational effectiveness while also reducing costs to help achieve the affordability challenges facing the Ministry of Defence.The 2076 Sonar system is the most effective in the world, giving Astute a key tactical advantage in locating and identifying other vessels, while the stealth characteristics of the submarine design make it the quietest the Navy has ever operated, enabling it to avoid detection and fulfil its role within the ‘Silent Service’, as submarines are known.Unlimited power is provided by the pressurised water nuclear reactor that is capable of powering a city the size of Southampton, and the Astute is capable of remaining submerged and circumnavigating the globe during a 90-day patrol, creating her own air and fresh water from the ocean.Astute is equipped with a digital optical mast system to replace the traditional periscope and this offers low light and infra-red capabilities to enable her to rapidly capture and analyse visual data, and share it with other fleet assets.Luxury is not a word that appears in the submarine vocabulary – Astute is all about operational capability – but her crew will be the first to each have their own bunk, removing the need for ‘hot bunking’ when during shifts one crewman would occupy a bunk vacated by another. Astute also has a comparatively large and extremely well-equipped galley to ensure the meals that punctuate the round the clock watch system are of the highest standard.

Have your say

Well another first of class leaves the yard
I remember working on first of class HMS Resolution in the mid 1960s as an apprentice what a huge boat she was.
A great first for the town once again with ASTUTE we have some great talent over that bridge.Well done Evening Mail.I

Posted by Paul Taylor on 18 November 2009 at 18:11

Congratulations to the evening mail, dated 16th november, your front page certainly made me chuckle........
for most of the page there was a fantasic picture of the Astute submarine, sailing from Barrow, yet at the bottom of the page was Pooles Townsends advert for Redundancy.!
Do Pooles know that redundancies are imminent from BAE..?, or are they just aware that after a boat it sent off on sea trials there is the usual a bout of doom gloom and dispondency with regards the future of the workforce..... it happened at the end of the trident, then again at the end of the wave knight, then more recently the LPD program.... it looks like it could be a case of MERRY CHRISTMAS to all BAE workers, and pick up your P.45 on the way out the door.!!! - a well scripted fron page, well done, it certainly had me chuckling.!!!!

Posted by Anon on 17 November 2009 at 21:55

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