Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Audacious gets its keel

Audacious gets its keel
March 24, 2009

An Equipment and Logistics news article

The Royal Navy's most powerful attack submarine programme reached a milestone today as the traditional 'laying the keel' ceremony was performed by Defence Secretary John Hutton for the fourth Astute class submarine 'Audacious'.

Weighing in at over seven thousand tonnes, Audacious, which is currently under construction by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at Barrow-in-Furness, will join sister boats Astute, Ambush and Artful in becoming a cornerstone of UK defence capability.

Defence Secretary John Hutton said:

"This ceremony marks an important stage in a challenging project. The Astute class will be the most advanced and powerful attack submarines the Royal Navy has ever operated and these boats will play a key part of our defences for decades to come.

"The Royal Navy has a long term and enduring requirement for nuclear powered submarines and the Barrow-in-Furness yard remains the UK's centre of excellence for submarine building.

"Submarines are extremely demanding engineering projects, and the Astute class is no exception. The skills, expertise and commitment of the Barrow workforce are absolutely fundamental to the success of the Astute programme."

The Astute class are the biggest and most powerful attack submarines ever ordered for the Royal Navy. The vessels have an improved capability for worldwide operations, including much greater firepower and better communications and crew accommodation than the current in-service submarines.

Director General Submarines Rear Admiral Simon Lister said:

"The Astute programme is forging ahead: the Navy is looking forward to getting its hands on the first of class, Astute; the building of the second, Ambush, is making good progress; and the third, Artful, incorporates a range of initiatives which speed up production and cut cost. Audacious benefits from further innovation, particularly in team-working with the company and throughout the supplier base."

Around 5,000 people are employed on the project for the first four Astute class submarines.

The fourth of seven Astute class submarines ordered by the MOD, Audacious joins Astute, named by The Duchess of Cornwall in June 2007, and Ambush and Artful already under construction

Astute class submarines will displace 7,400 tonnes dived and are 97 metres long. Capable of circumnavigating the globe in a single 90-day patrol without resurfacing, they will have six weapons tubes and massively increased firepower compared with earlier attack submarines.

Each Astute class submarine has a complement of 98 men and is powered by a Pressurised Water Reactor 2, equipped with Core H, which will fuel the reactor for the submarine's full service life, ending the need for costly reactor refuellings.

Astute class submarines will be based at Faslane on the Clyde and will undergo refits at Devonport.

Astute, Ambush, Artful and Audacious are being procured by the Defence Equipment and Support organisation's Submarine Production Integrated Project Team.

There have been three warships named 'Audacious'. The first was a 74-gun wooden ship of the line that fought under Nelson at the Battle of the Nile in 1798; the second was an ironclad that served on the China station; and the third was a First World War battleship serving with the Grand Fleet that was mined and sunk in 1914.

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