HMS Audacious, the fourth of seven Astute class attack submarines, has been launched BAE Systems at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, the Astute class submarines are the most highly-capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.
The nuclear attack submarine can hit targets up to 1,000km from the coast with pin-point accuracy and is equipped with a world-leading sonar capability and powered by a nuclear reactor.
The first three submarines in the class, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful, are now in service with the final three Astute class submarines are at various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
Will Blamey, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said:
“Audacious enters the water in a more advanced state of build than any previous Astute class submarine, which puts us in a good position for the next phase of work – the testing and commissioning of her complex systems.
Designing and building a nuclear-powered submarine is extremely challenging and today’s launch is yet another reminder of the unique skills required to deliver such complex programmes.
We now look forward to working alongside Audacious’ crew to prepare her for sea trials, before she joins her sister submarines in service with the Royal Navy.”
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines Rear Admiral John Weale said:
“It’s an exciting moment to see Audacious enter the water for the first time ahead of trials. Such a feat of engineering is testament to the skills of the BAE Systems workforce in Barrow.
As part of an increasingly capable Royal Navy, Audacious will go on to serve on operations right around the world, helping keep Britain safe.”
HMS Audacious will now begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme ahead of leaving Barrow for sea trials next year.