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.
Confirmation of the build of the seventh Astute class nuclear submarine, HMS Agincourt, and a £2.5 billion pounds investment was announced earlier this year.
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. All of the Astute-class submarines will be fitted with the advanced ‘Common Combat System’.
The manufacturer say that no other attack submarine is as technologically advanced. In the words of BAE, the Astute class is “designed and engineered to be the stealthiest submarine of her type, equipped with the latest and most powerful sonar suite and secure communications facilities, while exhibiting a low noise signature and optimum detection avoidance characteristics”.
The seven Astute class nuclear powered submarines will have the capability to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing, limited only by their food storage capacity. Able to deploy rapidly, they are powered by a nuclear reactor that can run for their 25 year lifespan without refuelling.
Courtesy of BAE, we’ve also been able to publish an interesting list of trivia. Did you know…
- Astute class submarines are the UK’s largest and most powerful attack submarines and can strike at targets up to 1,000km from the coast with pin-point accuracy.
- Astute submarines are the first nuclear submarines to be designed entirely in a three-dimensional, computer-aided environment.
- Design and construction of an Astute submarine has been described as ‘more complex than that of the space shuttle.’
- If the cables on board an Astute Submarine were laid out end-to-end, they would stretch from Barrow to Preston.
- An Astute submarine’s 90-day dived endurance is only limited by the amount of food that can be carried and the endurance of the crew.
- Astute submarines are the first Royal Navy Submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead the vessel employs high specification video technology.
- Astute submarines will be the quietest ever operated by the Royal Navy.
- The Devonshire Dock Hall is BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines main build facility, standing 51m high, 58m wide and 260m long.
- The first submarine for the Royal Navy was built in Barrow, and every submarine currently in service was also built there, Holland 1.
- Astute class submarines are designed not to require refuelling throughout her projected 25-year life.
- 10-week patrol the 98-strong crew of a Astute will get through (on average): 18,000 sausages and 4,200 Weetabix for breakfast.