BAE Systems has launched its latest submarine Artful into the dock at its Barrow-in-Furness site.
The 97m long, 7,400 tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine – officially named at a ceremony in September last year – began edging out of BAE Systems’ giant construction hall on Friday before being lowered into the water the following day.
Artful, the third of seven Astute class submarines being designed and built for the UK Royal Navy, will now begin the next phase of its test and commissioning process ahead of sea trials next year.
Stuart Godden, astute programme director for BAE Systems, said: “The launch of Artful is another step forward in its Astute programme.
“Building on past experiences we’ve been able to launch her in the most advanced state of construction of any submarine to be built in Barrow. This allows us to now fully concentrate on the test and commissioning activities required to get her to sea,” he said.
“Moving a submarine of this size from its build hall to the water is very challenging. It’s testament to the experience and careful planning of the team involved that Artful is now ready for the next phase in her programme.
Artful will now undergo a series of tests to prove the safety and operability of its systems before it departs BAE Systems’ site for sea trials.
The Ministry of Defence’s director for submarines, Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, said the launch of the third submarine is a reflection of the hard work of the MOD and the defence industry.
“The launch of this submarine brings it a step closer to entering into service where it will provide a key capability for the Royal Navy and an essential component of the Submarine Service into the future,” he said.
The first two submarines in the Astute class – HMS Astute and HMS Ambush – have now been handed over to the UK Royal Navy, while the remaining five are in various stages of construction.