The incident is understood to have started in the control room of Audacious after an electrical short caused smoke to form.

Local media in Barrow reported that three fire engines from Barrow, Walney and Ulverston were called to the incident at 7.20pm on Monday evening.

A spokesperson for BAE Systems said:

“We can confirm there was a minor incident on board the fourth Astute class submarine, Audacious, on Monday evening. The submarine was safely evacuated, there were no injuries and no damage to the submarine.

As a precaution, and in line with our normal emergency procedures, appliances from Cumbria Fire and Rescue attended, though the incident was dealt with before they arrived. Employees were able to return to work on the submarine shortly afterwards.”

HMS Astute, HMS Artful and HMS Ambush are already in-service with the Royal Navy. Boats 5 and 6, Anson and Agamemnon, along with a seventh Astute-class submarine, are in different stages of construction at the Barrow site.

Long lead items for the construction of Audacious were ordered in 2006 although the actual order was not placed until 2007. Launch was expected in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the submarine was due to leave the yard in 2017. She was eventually formally named in December 2016 and floated out in April 2017, she is due to leave this year for sea trials.

Recently we reported that the Ministry of Defence revealed that boats 4-7 of the Astute Class submarine are now £838 million over budget. The news came in their annual Finance and Economics Bulletin.

The Astute class are the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design, and weaponry in a versatile vessel. It is the replacement for the Trafalgar-class that entered service in the 1980s.

The class has frequently been cited as one of the most advanced submarines ever made. Indeed during HMS Astute’s sea trials in 2012, Commander Iain Breckenridge said he had “never before experienced holding a submarine at the range we were holding USS New Mexico. The Americans were utterly taken aback, blown away with what they were seeing”

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David E Flandry

Great submarines, but more than seven are needed.

Barry Larking

Agreed. If our national defence strategy is one of deterrence (and reassurance to allies) then why stop at seven? In the most likely international scenarios these tactical platforms are ones we could be expected to turn to if someone fancies their chances, not the red button asset.


All – I know this has been debated previously but what is the argument for not procuring a small fleet of electric boats like the German 212’s (of course, there are others). This would leave the Astutes free to deploy globally, leaving the small stealth fleet to monitor UK waters and northern approaches. I’m not a Navy man – just intrigued by the counter argument to procuring more Astutes when Defence budgets and arguably more important priorities like an increased surface fleet, aircraft and the ability to bring regiments to full strength.


It’s all about finance. We have a very decent defence budget and quite a well balanced navy. Assuming defence funding isn’t going to be increased any more than it is being increased by already, what would you propose cutting to fund submarine 8 and would it be worth it? If it was a choice between 5-6 type 31 frigates or 1 extra astute, i would rather have the frigates. 7 is a decent number, and currently the only nation with more ssn is the US (and russia, although a lot of there’s are getting a bit long in the tooth).… Read more »

Captain P Wash

It Is my understanding that the new Carriers will be rotated.