Britain commissions fifth Astute-class submarine into service

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LONDON ($1=0.85 British Pounds) — The United Kingdom and its Royal Navy will commission a new Astute-class submarine. This is SSN HMS Anson [S-123]. According to the Saturnax Twitter account, the entry into the Royal Navy inventory of the SSN HMS Anson will take place by the end of this week.

Photo credit: Twitter

SSN HMS Anson will be the fifth Astute class submarine. The last HMS Audacious [S122] [fourth in a row] was commissioned on 3rd April 2020. The first commissioned submarine of this class is HMS Astute [S119] commissioned on August 27, 2010. The other two submarines of the same class are HMS Ambush [S120] and HMS Artful [S121].

The Royal Navy plans to commission a total of seven submarines of this class. According to the plans of the Ministry of Defense of Great Britain, this should happen by the end of 2026. The last two submarines under construction are HMS Agamemnon [S124] and HMS Agincourt [S125]. BAE Systems builds the entire Astute class of submarines for the Royal Navy in Barrow-in-Furness – a port town in Cumbria, England.

Modern missiles for Astute class submarines

The last class of missiles will be part of the armament of this class of submarines. BulgarianMilitary.com reported on June 1 this year that the submarines will receive modernized American missiles Tomahawk Land Attack Block V. The news was confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense. “Tomahawk Land Attack Block V will deal with future naval threats,” the ministry said in a statement.

Tomahawk Land Attack Block V has a significantly increased range from its previous versions. According to officially published characteristics, the range of the modernized American missile is 1000 miles [1609 kilometers]. BAE Systems, Babcock International, and Lockheed Martin are expected to be the contractors and key companies ensuring the integration and maintenance of missiles in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy submarines. According to British media reports, the deal is worth $333 million.

The integration of Tomahawk Land Attack Block V into British Astute-class submarines will ensure “their precise striking power”. Experts say they [missiles] are vulnerable to external threats due to the improved communication system used during the flight.

The older version of the missile, Block IV, can reprogram its weapon system in-flight using two-way satellite communications. The same feature is retained in the version that the UK will buy. Block V has another ability that distinguishes it from most of this class of missiles – its ability to loiter over the target area, as well as to assess the damage inflicted in battle.

About Astute-class submarine

The Astute is the latest class of British nuclear-powered submarine, which has been in service with the Royal British Navy since 2010. A total of seven submarines of this class are planned to enter service with the British Royal Navy – currently, four are in active service.

Photo: Royal Navy

The dimensions of the Astute-class submarines are as follows: the length is 97 m [318 ft 3 in], the beam is 11.3 m [37 ft 1 in] and the draught is 10 m [32 ft 10 in]. The submarine is powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR 2 nuclear reactor and MTU 600 kilowatt diesel generators. The submarine has been tested to a depth of 300m and has a top speed of 30 knots. It has six torpedo tubes that fire Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes. Submarines of this class are also armed with Tomahawk Block V cruise missiles.

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