The new submarine was named Audacious in a traditional ceremony at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.

Lady Elizabeth Jones, the wife of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, formally christened the submarine.

The naming ceremony of the 7,400 tonne nuclear submarine took place in front of thousands of people, including members of BAE Systems workforce who have built her and the Royal Navy submariners who will serve on board.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:

“HMS Audacious is the fourth in our fleet of Astute Class submarines, the largest and most advanced attack submarines in service with the Royal Navy, already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world.”

According to a press release, the ceremony comes almost a year to the day since the third Astute submarine, HMS Artful, was officially handed over to the Royal Navy.

“HMS Audacious will now stay inside the Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow for final work to be undertaken on her, before being launched next year for testing and commissioning of the boat’s systems. Alongside Audacious in the Dock Hall, the fifth (Anson), sixth (Agamemnon) and the un-named seventh Astute submarines are all at various stages of their build schedules.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said:

“Today’s naming ceremony for HMS Audacious adds another world-beating nuclear submarine to the already formidable Astute class. 

Ahead of her, HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful are already contributing to operations and are well placed to protect both the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and the Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

The nuclear submarine remains the hallmark of a first rate maritime power: Audacious, and the men and women of the Royal Navy submarine service, will give the UK a decisive advantage for decades to come.”

The Astute Class is being built by BAE Systems, which employs around 8,000 people in its Submarines business, including those that work on the Astute programme, with thousands more working in the UK submarine supply chain. BAE Systems is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.


  1. There can be no doubt that the Astute class submarines will be one of the UK’s strongest military assets for years to come. Ironically most of the work they will do will go unseen. No other European nation can come close to this. In the near future we will have the ability to put to see a full size carrier group with a couple of 5th gen fighters and these sub’s as part of that group.

    • I agree, The Astute class submarine is our best naval asset… However, this is the UK Armed Forces future, excellent capability on one hand but glaring holes on the other.

        • By glaring holes im talking about a lack of maritime patrol for over 10 years (We have had to rely on Canada and France for our maritime patrol ability), a lack of a carrier group with jet aircraft for over 10 years (not at full strength for 15 years) a navy with no anti ship missile for… who knows? I don’t see Russia, China, France, Italy, South Africa etc relying on anybody else for such important tasks. Or would you care to elaborate more on your statement?

  2. I would like to see 10 astutes built in total – we should recognise that these ships are world class as is the workforce. The additional 3 units will ensure we maintain this workforce well into the future.

    • I don’t think they want to build any more with PWR2 reactors hence the urgency to build the Dreadnoughts with PWR3 reactors

    • The United Kingdom gives overseas aid worth 250 million GBP every year. Many Indians regard this as a pittance. India is nuclear power, has developed I.C.B.M.s and cruise missiles and is working on a firth generation fighter with Russia.

      It takes around five years or so to knock up an Astute class submarine.

      Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

      Build more until better comes along.

  3. A piece of RN hardware I can’t complain about!

    (Apart from the cracks appearing in the first 2 from cheap build materials and the transmission which was likened to having the engine of a Ferrari with the gearbox of a Morris Minor).

  4. I live in Cumbria, and I regular deliver down in barrow in Furness. It’s great to see all those jobs been secured buildings these fantastic submarines protecting our fantastic country 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 Proud

  5. Nuclear powered submarines are a key strategic asset and force multiplier in any conflict.

    We have to retain this industrial capability irrespective of the cost. Given the potency of this weapon l too would like more ordered, which give the RN a constant and viable world class capability across the world.

  6. Is it only money stopping more Astutes being built? If (from the article) “Alongside Audacious in the Dock Hall, the fifth (Anson), sixth (Agamemnon) and the un-named seventh Astute submarines are all at various stages of their build schedules.” then would there be enough space and personnel to at least have a Successor and an Astute build going concurrently?

    Maybe the start of Successor has been pushed so far to the right that considerable concurrency of those builds will be required such that the entire dock hall and all available qualified staff will be needed just the get those out in time.

  7. Successor is at least a 10 year build programme and ultimately needs to start – so probably no more astutes in this window. Going forward though we really do need 10 of these and I for one think this is a more potent asset than the carriers or any other naval asset other than successor itself.

    We should all remember that it was a sub that sent the Argentine navy to port in the Falklands and the U-Boats nearly brought our country to its knees, until such time as we can accurately track these things I believe subs to be the pre-eminant naval vessel.

  8. More subs would be great but it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

    The US, Russians and I now believe the Chinese and Indians will continue to out number us for decades to come as their military grows.

    I’m sure I read that part of Chinese military doctrine requires an unprecedented size of a submarine fleet.

    The question I ask is how do a nation like the UK keep up with threats and technological advancements when our potential adversaries have greater budgets.

    Is quality better than quantity?

    Our T45’s cost £1B each and to date still have issues and a poss offensive refit.

    Why not build 12 £500M vessels? And vary the capability?

    Our 6blilion carriers are virtually defenseless

    Why not give the prince of Wales the capability the Russian carrier has?

    I’m not entirely convinced that the sums invested thus far have been worth it considering our numbers are still massively low.

    • The type 45’s were built at an average cost of 625 million each according to a recent MoD answer to a parliamentary question. Nearly 200 million of that was the cost of the anglo-french PAAMS missile system

      Significantly cheaper than their American contemporary Arleigh Burkes.

      • The total cost of the T45 programme was £6.46bn. You say that each T45 ship cost 0.625bn, so six ships cost £3.75bn.

        So we spent nearly £3bn on R&D plus set up costs for 6 warships?

        I think your number of £0.625bn is questionable, could please supply a source to support that figure.

        The cost of the latest Arleigh Burke flight 111 including all weapon systems/missiles and other government supplied equipment is $1.8bn each. Given the greatly increased capability
        of this ship over a T45 ( land attack, BMD, asw and so on) plus the engines work in warm sea water, Aleigh Burke would a much better option than the current T45.

          • A link to your source please. This would be helpful.

            So you are confirming that nearly £3bn was spent on R&D and set up costs?

          • Grow up & google parliamentary questions & search for type45 questions in November 2016. Answer is 633 million pounds each as delivered to RN with no r&d costs.

          • No CEC (which were told was vital for there mission, we were also told at the time that 7 and 8 build T45 were abandoned that the money would be used to install CEC in the first 6 T45), no anti ship missile procured ( 4 sets of very old harpoon missiles taken from T22 batch 3 and installed on 4 T45, no BMD defence, no on board ASW system, the on board sonar incapable of ASW, no land attack capability, and the gun installed mk8 is based on an army 1950,s design that is well past its sell by date.

            We have spent £6.46bn on 6 warships that are only capable carrying a very narrow mission (in which they will excel) that urgently need a £1bn refit to correct a serious propulsion problem that may make them unfit to engage in high intensity combat operations. But at the crews have nice cabins.

            The T45 is the finest example of how rotten the UK process is and all the positive spin is not going to make it any better.

  9. Sounds like an MoD exercise desperate for good news. Naming a ship before it is ready to be launched sounds like the phoniest of phony ceremonies.

    What’s next? “The first type 26 was named to today in a Bae office in front of a computer screen showing a virtual ship. Defence minister du jour was quoted saying this was the latest step in their 5 trillion pound investment plan that would start any day now.”

    • Just hope they don’t break a bottle of bubbly over the computer or we could be waiting for another 20 years whilst they redo the design work that went up in smoke.

  10. During trials (4+ months at sea) in the US, HMS Astute blew away the Americans with her capabilities. This class is a real asset.

  11. At £40bn p.a we have the budget, we are spending it really inefficiently. We do not necessarily have to compete with India or China with numbers, but we do have to have a capability that they recognise will ensure mutual destruction.

    The Astutes are world class, the CVF and a properly fitted out T45 likewise. We really do need to decide how we decide to spend this £40bn and in my opinion £10bn for the RN is well within the gift of the MOD as is £12bn for the RAF and £12bn for the Army. Time to spend the money where it is needed and stop wasting money on 20 year projects that never see the light of day.

    • Having 20000 civil servants working defence procurement doesn’t come cheap. I understand that state of Israel has about 400 staff working in its defence procurement branch. Whilst l understand there are differences in the capability of the the two nations, we do seem to be top heavy in a number of areas.

  12. I would like to see the seventh named ‘Ardent’ with Lady West, (wife of Admiral The Lord West of Spithead), ‘launching’ her.

  13. Guy’s it’s quality over critical mass that we don’t have and in my unprofessional view i think when it comes to national defence, profitability has to be questioned. We have limited budget and with an already increased number of complex contracts and technology at our disposal, can we really afford to take any losses in the event of war? The lesson for me was the failure to protect our colonial outposts in the Far East and inc Australia during WW2 and in this modern day you can’t guarantee despite the might of the Americans that they can deliver to protect us, Europe and Asia at the same time and for me it’s clearly not working and ourselves likewise our allies need to step up and look to get the best for the tax payer and our forces.

    We are sending £1Billion air defence destroyers in aid relief and drug smuggling operations in parts of the globe i really do question why we are their in the first place. its one thing to project an image of world power in certain parts of the world but when the Russian’s appear in our waters all we can muster up is a Type 23 and a few Typhoons. I really do worry about strategic defence and domestic security never mind trying to look good else where.

    This Government and her Majesty’s Armed Forces have for decades taken on too much for them to handle and we are paying the price for that now.

    With Carriers near completion it’s evident to me that certain operations will have to sacrificed in able to have a readied carrier group.

    I also read elsewhere that we faced tug boat shortage and we had to rent from the Dutch, they were required to go to the Falklands if i can remember correctly.

    If our numbers are low we really ought to be building proper coastal defense systems of some sort around the UK, it really aught to be a fortress but it’s not.

    • The stark reality that the UK Govt has lumped in the overseas aid budget of £10bn into the defence budget and this is skewing the numbers massively.

      Ultimately it is a lack of a dedicated and consistent capital budget allocation allied to a total lack of fleet management that has got us in this position.

      Put simply we should be launching a sub every 2 years and an escort every 9 months. This is all doable on a capital budget of £2.5bn p.a. As for the airforce they need an annual capital budget of £4bn p.a. to get them to 400 frontline combat aircraft (including 96 for the FAA) and the Army need £1bn p.a and a requirement to stop being so stupid…. (FRES???).

      So for £7.5bn p.a. Capital budget guaranteed for 25 years (and indexed) we can actually have a massive uptick in equipment that will stop wastage on life extension programmes. Add an additional £1ban p.a for weapons (missiles, bullets etc) and that is 50% of the equipment budget taken. One of the issues is a 10 year equipment budget is not long enough to build stocks or spread the cost of 40 Escorts (which the £2.5bn p.a. accounts for).

      It really is about us prioritising what is important and making sure we get those items first and then doing the rest. Until our military is in better shape I would freeze the overseas aid or at least half it and re-allocate to the military.

      Given the fact the UK is breaking its commitment to the military covenant and was held responsible for negligence in the case of several soldiers deaths in Afghanistan, there really is no excuse for our political leads to continue on such a perverse allocation of funding as we see now.


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