HMS Anson – the UK Royal Navy’s fifth Astute-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine (SSN) – underwent sea trials in the Atlantic, largely around the eastern seaboard.

Anson and her operational sisters – Astute, Ambush, Artful and Audacious – can circumnavigate the globe while submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water to sustain the crews on arduous and lengthy deployments.

The Astute-class are an SSN designed by BAE Systems to replace the Trafalgar-class, which is nearing 40-years-old.

All the boats’ systems are federated through an advanced command and control system known as the Astute Combat Management Systems (ACMS), which receives data from sonars and other sensors and uses algorithms and data handling.

Anson left the manufacturer’s shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness and spent some time in waters off the UK coast and then sailed further north of Scotland to test her weapons systems with successful firings of both Spearfish and Tomahawk test missiles.

Operating out of the Bahamas

Leveraging the resources and facilities of the US Navy, Anson was able to demonstrate her performance beneath the surface at sites such as the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in the ranges off Andros Island, just south-west of Nassau.

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Technical specialists made use of a natural phenomenon – the Tongue of the Ocean – a huge deep-water bowl carved out of coral reef. The area is 20 miles wide, 150 miles long, some 6,000 feet deep in places and crammed with sensors and hydrophones to record reams of data displaying how well a submarine, torpedo or sonar system is performing.

Tests at AUTEC are crucial to Anson’s future operations, ensuring she can hunt adversary submarines without detection.