HMS Anson, the fifth Astute class submarine, which BAE Systems has designed and built for the Royal Navy, has departed the Company's shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and headed out to open sea for the first time.
After being guided through the shipyard’s dock system and rounding the tip of Walney Island, HMS Anson began her maiden journey to His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, home of the UK’s Submarine Service. She will undertake sea trials before joining HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, in operational service with the Royal Navy.
HMS Anson, which was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy during a ceremony in Barrow last year, is 97 metres long and weighs 7,400-tonnes. The Astute class are equipped with world-leading sensors, carry Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water. BAE Systems has delivered the first four submarines in the Astute class and the sixth and seventh boats are at an advanced stage of construction in Barrow.
The Dreadnought class submarines, which will replace the Royal Navy’s Vanguard class, carrying the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent, are also being designed and built in Barrow-in-Furness with manufacturing work underway on the first three of four boats.
BAE Systems is also undertaking early design and concept work for the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines which will eventually replace the Astute class, referred to as SSN-Replacement (SSNR).
These programmes are supported by BAE Systems Submarines’ growing workforce of more than 11,000 people which will be bolstered later this year when more than 600 apprentices and 200 graduates join the business. BAE Systems’ Submarines business will also be recruiting more than 2,500 experienced professionals into its workforce to help deliver the three programmes of work.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said: “HMS Anson will play a vital role in defending the UK, providing a competitive edge for decades to come, and I am proud to see her make her journey up to her permanent home on the Clyde. Supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, our Astute-Class submarines are a leading example of our commitment to defence manufacturing, continuing to boost British industry for decades to come.”
Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Submarines, added: “It’s with enormous pride that we bid farewell to HMS Anson as she departs our site to take up her vital role helping to protect the UK’s national security. This is a truly national endeavour, so delivering the most capable attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy is a tremendous moment for our company, our employees, the Barrow community and the whole of the submarine enterprise, not least our vast and crucially important UK wide supply chain.”
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