Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  10 May 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

Countdown to launch of first Astute submarine at Barrow shipyard
A month to go until the biggest British sub is unveiled

The Royal Navy’s largest and most powerful attack submarine, the first-of-class Astute, is now entering the final stages of preparation for the launch which will take place at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness on 8th June, 2007.

With just one month to go before the submarine emerges from the 25,000m² Devonshire Dock Hall build facility, much of the hull is still shrouded in coverings to allow work to continue on applying more than 39,000 acoustic tiles that will mask the vessel’s sonar signature but and help to make Astute the most stealthy submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy.

Commodore Steve Lloyd, Director of the Defence Equipment and Support Submarine Production Team said; “Work is on schedule to deliver the first of the Astute class to the Royal Navy in August 2008 with an in-service date of January 2009.”

Design and construction of the Astute Class is the most challenging engineering project in the UK and has been described as “more complex than the space shuttle”, involving over 1 million components and the production of over 7,000 design drawings.

The Astute class is the largest, most capable and widely deployable attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy. It has improved communications systems to support joint operations and an enhanced ability to operate in shallower littoral environments compared with previous classes.

As well as supporting the deterrent, Astute is designed to undertake a range of other tasks including support of land forces, land attack using Tomahawk cruise missiles, and intelligence gathering. Once deployed, Astute is designed not to require refuelling throughout her full service life - in excess of 25 years - and can patrol for 90 days, remaining undetected thousands of miles from home and hundreds of metres underwater

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions is the prime contractor for the Astute Class of nuclear-powered submarine, responsible for the design, build and initial in-service support of the three 7,800 tonne vessels - Astute, Ambush and Artful - currently under construction at the shipyard.


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