Artful, the third Astute class submarine being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, has successfully completed her first ever dive in preparation for sea trials next year.
The operation, known as the trim and incline test, took place over two days, to prove the submarine’s safety and stability in the water.
The maiden dive was undertaken in the dock on BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness and involved a team of 80 highly-skilled personnel, including naval architects, engineers and Royal Navy crew members.
The 7,400 tonne, 97 metre long attack submarine, launched in May this year, was submerged to a depth of 15 metres to allow naval architects to calculate its precise weight and centre of gravity – calculations that are essential for the boat to safely dive and resurface when deployed.
The dive also gave the crew the opportunity to test for the first time in the water the submarine’s sonar, navigation and optical systems – Artful’s ‘eyes and ears’.
Tony Johns, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines said: “Successfully completing the trim and incline test is a significant milestone for Artful and a result of years’ of work by skilled engineers, naval architects and our operations team.
“Our focus is now on completing final test and commissioning activities before she leaves Barrow for sea trials next year.”
The first two submarines in the Astute class – HMS Astute and HMS Ambush – have now been handed over to the Royal Navy, while the remaining four – Audacious, Anson, Agamemnon and the yet to be named seventh – are in various stages of construction.
The Astute class is the most advanced attack submarine ever to have entered service with the Royal Navy.
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, they can strike at targets up to 1,200 miles from the coast with pinpoint accuracy, while its sophisticated sonar system – Sonar 2076 – has the processing power of 2,000 laptops, equipping it with the ‘most powerful eyes and ears’ of any submarine in service today.