The Defence Secretary confirmed the news as he visited the home of the UK’s submarine manufacturing industry in Cumbria today.
Artful, which will provide the Royal Navy with its most technologically advanced submarine, is currently preparing to leave the construction yard in Barrow-in-Furness for sea trials, before joining the Royal Navy fleet around the end of this year. The seven Astute Class submarines support the jobs of 3,700 workers and 400 supply companies across the UK supply chain.
Mr Fallon was also able to see progress on an eight-year infrastructure upgrade programme at the yard, costing in excess of £300M, which will prepare the site for investment in a new fleet of four Successor Ballistic Missile submarines and the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
The Astute submarine programme is a key part of our £163 billion plan to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need.
Artful will now join Ambush and Astute, helping to keep Britain safe. The next four boats are already under construction, securing thousands of jobs and showing our commitment to increase defence spending each year for the rest of the decade.
Director Submarines at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, said:
The Astute Class are amongst the most advanced submarines operating in the world today and provide the Royal Navy with the capability it needs to defend UK interests at home and overseas.
We have learned many lessons from the build of the first two Astute Class submarines and Artful will soon be ready to leave Barrow and to commence operations as the newest Submarine in the Royal Navy.
The 7,400-tonne Artful submarine will shortly leave the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, conduct sea trials, before sailing to its new home at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland.
Lessons learned from the construction of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush will allow Artful to progress to Contractor’s Sea Trials in a significantly advanced material state than her predecessors.
The Astute Class submarines are the most advanced and powerful submarines Britain has ever sent to sea. Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, they 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.
Artful’s 97m length is greater than the length of 10 London buses.
When fully stored she will displace 7,400 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
She will be able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing and her dived endurance is limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew.
Artful is able to manufacture its own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.
The Astute class is the first class of Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead they employ high specification video technology. The images are delivered into the submarine control room via fibre-optic cables.
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Artful will be able to strike at targets up to 1,200m from the coast with pinpoint accuracy.
Around 110 km of cabling and pipe work is installed on board Artful – enough to stretch from Bristol to Oxford.
The Sonar 2076 sonar suite fitted on board Artful has the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers. It has the world’s largest number of hydrophones, providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today.
The kitchen is called the galley. On a 10-week patrol the 100-strong crew of Artful will get through, on average, 18,000 sausages and 4,200 Weetabix for breakfast.