The new submarine was named Audacious in a traditional ceremony at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.
Marking the momentous milestone in the vessel’s journey towards joining the Royal Navy’s fleet, Lady Elizabeth Jones, the wife of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, formally christened the submarine in the classic tradition of breaking a bottle – on this occasion, a traditionally brewed local beer - on her bow.
The naming ceremony of the7,400 tonne, 97-metre long submarine took place in front of thousands of people, including the BAE Systems’ workforce who have built her and the Royal Navy submariners who will serve on board her.
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.
Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine building programmes for years to come.
The ceremony comes almost a year to the day since the third Astute submarine, HMS Artful, was officially handed over to the Royal Navy. 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.
Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, Director Submarines Acquisition at DE&S, the MOD’s procurement organisation, said:
The Astute Class provides the Royal Navy with the most technologically advanced submarines in the world, offering much greater firepower, better communications and more advanced stealth technology than their predecessors.
Today marks another significant milestone for the Astute programme and takes Audacious closer to operations and to protecting the UK’s interests around the globe.
Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, the Astute class can circumnavigate the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as they go. They also have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected in almost all circumstances despite being 50 per cent bigger than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines which is being replaced by the Astute Class.