HMS Artful, an Astute class nuclear submarine currently deployed with HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group, has called into Gibraltar despite Spanish protests.
Today saw the arrival of an Astute-class submarine at the Naval Base on a routine, scheduled visit. These are the RN's largest, most advanced and powerful attack submarines. pic.twitter.com/1WpTCVV5xH
— GBC News (@GBCNewsroom) June 5, 2021
The submarine appeared to be having some level of equipment fitting done.
— Michael J Sanchez (@key2med) June 6, 2021
Spain regularly protests the arrival of British nuclear submarines in the British territory however in 2017, a Spanish patrol boat reportedly tried to “hassle” an American nuclear submarine attempting to dock at Gibraltar.
According to multiple sources, flares were fired across the bow of the Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena in mid-April as it twice attempted to sail across the front of the American ballistic missile submarine USS Florida.
The USS Florida, by the way, is a 20,000 ton Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. She carries 154 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Recently HMS Kent and her Wildcat helicopter conducted a winching exercise with HMS Artful off the coast of Scotland as part of a training exercise before the vessels deployed as part of the Carrier Strige Group 21 deployment.
The helicopter belonged to 206 Flight, 815 Squadron.
The exercise utilised both aircraft and the submarine in order to carry out an essential stores transfer in the confined water ways of Scotland’s coastline.
HMS Artful is the third of the seven Astute-class submarines to be built for the Royal Navy. She began her naval career in 2015, and was commissioned in 2016. The Astute class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.
The class have provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch torpedo tubes. The submarines are capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.
For detecting enemy ships and submarines, the Astute class are equipped with the sophisticated Sonar 2076, an integrated passive/active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays. BAE claims that the 2076 is the world’s best sonar system.
What is the UK Carrier Strike Group doing?
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), a deployment that will see the ship and her escorts sail to the Asia-Pacific and back. CSG21 will see the ship along with the Strike Group work with over 40 countries from around the world. The Strike Group will operate and exercise with other countries Navies and Air Forces during the 7 month deployment.
The Carrier Strike Group includes ships from the United States Navy, the Dutch Navy, and Marines from the US Marine Corps. As well as British frigates, destroyers, a submarine, two RFA supply ships and air assets from 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS. This is the largest deployment of Fifth Generation Fighter Jets at sea in history.