Pictured is HMS Ambush returning to HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Ambush, second of the nuclear powered Astute Class attack submarines, was named in Barrow on 16 December 2010 and launched on 5 January 2011. The seven Astute Class boats planned for introduction to the Royal Navy are the most advanced and powerful attack submarines Britain has ever sent to sea. Featuring the latest nuclear-powered technology, the vessels will never need to be refuelled and are capable of circumnavigating the world submerged, manufacturing the crew’s oxygen from seawater as she goes. The Astute Class are also quieter than any of her predecessors and have the ability to operate covertly and remain undetected, despite being fifty percent larger in size than the Royal Navy’s current Trafalgar Class submarines. ——————————————————- © Crown Copyright 2013 Photographer: CPOA(Phot) Thomas McDonald Image 45155720.jpg from www.defenceimages.mod.uk This image is available for high resolution download at www.defenceimagery.mod.uk subject to the terms and conditions of the Open Government License at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/. Search for image number 45155720.jpg For latest news visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence Follow us: www.facebook.com/defenceimages www.twitter.com/defenceimages

The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom has initiated the commissioning of its latest Astute-class nuclear-powered submarine, marking a significant milestone in naval technology. Named Agamemnon after the legendary Greek figure, the ceremony, held in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, underscores the vessel’s emergence as a pinnacle of modern maritime engineering. Anticipated to commence operations before year-end, Agamemnon stands as a testament to the unparalleled construction expertise of BAE Systems, the industry leader behind its creation.

The naming ceremony, attended by esteemed dignitaries including the Minister for Defense Supply, was a momentous occasion, with Lady SJ Sedwill, spouse of former UK National Security Adviser Lord Mark Sedwill, honored with the christening of the vessel. The tradition of baptizing the submarine, symbolized by the smashing of a beer bottle from the local Ulverston Brewing Company against its sturdy hull, added a personal touch to the event.

In naval parlance, the designation SSN denotes a nuclear-powered attack submarine, a versatile platform crucial to maritime defense. While standardized by the US Navy under STANAG 1166 to ensure consistency within NATO, variations exist across different naval forces.

The Astute-class submarines, currently integral to the British Royal Navy, represent the apex of maritime technological prowess. With their substantial size, cutting-edge sensor suites, robust construction, and advanced weaponry, they stand as the preeminent assets within the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet.

Measuring 97 meters in length and approximately 11.3 meters in beam, these submarines surpass their predecessors, the Trafalgar-class, in size, boasting a displacement of 7,400 tons when surfaced and 8,400 tons when submerged.

Powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR2 reactor and equipped with a specialized pump-jet propulsor, the Astute-class submarines operate with unprecedented stealth, capable of reaching speeds of up to 30 knots when submerged. This stealth capability is vital for evading detection and enhancing operational effectiveness in hostile environments.

With a crew complement of approximately 98 officers and enlisted personnel, life aboard an Astute-class submarine offers surprisingly comfortable conditions. Enhanced by modern amenities such as internet access, quality meals, and individual sleeping quarters, the living standards for crew members have been significantly elevated.

In terms of sonar capabilities, Astute-class submarines are unrivaled. Integrated with the advanced Thales 2076 sonar system, these vessels possess exceptional situational awareness, enabling them to detect and track enemy vessels across extended ranges.

Turning to firepower, Astute-class submarines are heavily armed with Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAMs) and Spearfish torpedoes. The Tomahawk missiles boast an impressive range of up to 1,000 miles, providing the submarines with formidable strike capabilities. Meanwhile, Spearfish torpedoes serve dual roles in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare scenarios.

Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, hailed the commissioning of Agamemnon as a pivotal moment for the UK’s nuclear submarine program. This achievement underscores the significance of the Defense Nuclear Enterprise Command Paper, emphasizing the vital role of BAE Systems in fulfilling national defense commitments.

Defense Procurement Minister James Cartlidge emphasized the strategic importance of HMS Agamemnon in bolstering national defense capabilities. The Astute-class program not only enhances military strength but also sustains thousands of jobs, reflecting the government’s commitment to British sovereign capabilities.

Currently, the British Royal Navy operates two classes of submarines: the distinguished Astute class and the eminent Trafalgar class, both equipped with nuclear technology. The Trafalgar-class submarines have a storied history, with vessels like HMS Turbulent contributing to significant operations such as Operation Veritas in Afghanistan in 2001.

Meanwhile, Astute-class submarines like HMS Ambush played critical roles in contemporary conflicts like Operation Shader, where they deployed Tomahawk cruise missiles against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria.

In May 2018, the Ministry of Defense finalized a £1.5 billion contract with BAE Systems for the construction of the seventh Astute-class submarine in Barrow-in-Furness. This new vessel, paying homage to historical events, ensures the continuation of vital jobs at BAE Systems and strengthens the nation’s maritime defense capabilities.