Royal Navy’s Newest Attack Submarines Achieve Major Milestones
The UK’s submarine capability has taken a significant step forward this week with work beginning on the assembly of Agamemnon, the Royal Navy’s sixth Astute Class submarine. The keel, which is the first part of the boat to be built, was unveiled at a ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness by Defence Minister Philip Dunne.
It comes as the MoD announces that the first two of the seven Astute Class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are nearing completion of their extensive sea trials and have been handed over to the Royal Navy to begin to prepare for operations.
The seven Astute Class submarines are being built for the Royal Navy to replace the Trafalgar Class submarines. The Astute Class has greater firepower, state of the art communications equipment and advanced stealth technology making them quieter than their predecessors and harder to detect.
HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are the first submarines in Class accepted by Navy Command, which is responsible for operating all of the Royal Navy’s vessels. The next three submarines in the Class: Artful, Audacious and Anson are all at varying stages of build and today’s keel laying for Agamemnon marks the next key milestone for the programme.
BAE Systems Maritime Submarines (BAES (MS)) is responsible for delivering all seven Astute Class submarines and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard class, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The MoD has agreed a new contract with BAES (MS) that will not only help to sustain the thousands of highly skilled defence jobs based at Barrow-in-Furness but drive down the costs of building future submarines.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne today signed a new contract which will deliver £380M of savings over the next eight years. This will ensure that the Royal Navy’s submarine capability is delivered efficiently and provides good value for money for the taxpayer.
Rear Admiral Simon Lister, the MoD’s Director of Submarines, said: “This is the sixth submarine in the Astute Class and we expect her to be built more quickly and efficiently than her predecessors, demonstrating the effectiveness of the national submarine building capability in Barrow-in-Furness. New techniques by skilled staff in the back office and on the shop floor will deliver this key capability for the Royal Navy.”
The keel-laying for an Astute Class submarine involves the unveiling of a keel section in the BAE Systems’ shipyard where the submarines are being built. The Agamemnon Astute boat is the seventh Royal Navy vessel to take the name – after the ancient Greek King who commanded the Greek troops in the Trojan War. The first was a 64-gun ship commissioned in 1793 by her new commanding officer, one Horatio Nelson – a captain at the time. It is said that Agamemnon was his favourite ship and she served in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
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