The British Royal Navy has formally commissioned the fourth Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, HMS Audacious.

The commissioning represents the vessel is now ready for Royal Navy’s global operations.

A ceremony was held in the presence of officials at HM Naval Base Clyde. It follows extensive tests and sea trials for the submarine.

HMS Audacious commanding officer commander Jim Howard said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be commanding officer of the Royal Navy’s newest and most capable SSN.

“As we now move from sea trials into our operational sea training programme, I and the whole ship’s company are ready for the challenge ahead.

“This formal commissioning ceremony marks another major milestone in the platform being fully operational and ready for tasking.”

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The 97m-long HMS Audacious has a total displacement of 7,800t and can sail at a maximum speed of more than 30k.

The first three submarines of the class, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, and HMS Artful, are already in service.

The Astute-class boats are capable of ‘circumnavigating’ the globe submerged, capable of producing their own oxygen and drinking water.

All these boats feature advanced nuclear technology and never require to be refuelled.

They are equipped with advanced sensors and can carry both Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

Royal Navy Submarine Service head commodore Jim Perks said: “This is an extremely important day in the life of HMS Audacious and I am delighted that the sponsor, Lady Elizabeth Jones, was able to formally commission this, our fourth Astute-Class submarine, today.

“Throughout this pandemic, Audacious has delivered her extensive trials programme without fuss and with considerable style.”

In April last year, the HMS Audacious embarked on its maiden journey to Naval Base Clyde to join sister-ships HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful.

In May, the HMS Audacious successfully fired five of the advanced heavy torpedoes during a three-day trial at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre (AUTEC) on Andros Island.