Britain’s latest nuclear-powered submarine will soon be in operation after arriving at its new home on the Clyde.
Artful, the third of the Royal Navy’s new Astute class attack submarines, will carry out sea trials before entering service later this year.
The 7,400-tonne vessel travelled from its construction yard at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria to the Faslane naval base near Helensburgh, where it was welcomed by Scotland’s senior naval officer Rear Admiral John Weale.
Photo: BAE Systems
The Astute class of vessels are the most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy. Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, they can accurately strike targets up to 1,200 miles from the coast.
Advanced stealth technology means they can remain undetected despite being 50 per cent larger than the current Trafalgar Class.
As home of the UK submarine service, HM Naval Base Clyde will host all seven Astute vessels and is already home to HMS Astute and HMS Ambush.
The Royal Navy said lessons learned from their construction will allow Artful to progress to sea trials in a “significantly advanced state” than her predecessors.
Chief of Materiel Fleet, Vice Admiral Simon Lister, said: “I am delighted that Artful has arrived at her home port for operations as this marks a key milestone in the Astute class submarine programme.
“The build of the first two Astute class submarines has taught us many lessons. Artful can soon begin operations as the newest submarine in the Royal Navy.”
Photo: BAE Systems
Rear Admiral Weale, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines, said: “Today is a very significant day for Clyde, the Royal Navy and the whole of the United Kingdom.
“The whole team has come out to welcome Artful into the family.”
Artful’s commanding officer, Commander Scott Bower, said: “Many of the crew have been on board for up to two years – I have myself – and we’ve been looking forward to getting Artful to its base port so it’s wonderful to have achieved it.
“Rather wet conditions, but having been based at Faslane before, I’m kind of used to it.
“The next step will be to continue with the sea trials. We’ve only done a few days so far.
“She’s been underwater and just about everything has worked well. One or two little hiccups but I’m sure we can resolve those.
“I am thoroughly looking forward to taking her a little deeper and making sure everything works in those conditions.”
The other Astute class submarines – including Audacious, Anson and Agamemnon – are in various stages of design or build. The seventh boat name has still to be confirmed.