The UK Royal Navy’s first Astute class nuclear powered attack submarine is preparing to enter the first stage of sea trials.

The sea trials for the Navy’s next-generation nuclear submarine are intended to validate the submarine’s capabilities as the UK’s most powerful vessel.

HMS Astute is expected to leave the Devonshire Dock in the coming weeks, where the submarine’s keel was laid in 2001.

After leaving Barrow, the submarine will be based at HM Naval Base Faslane in Scotland for its operational life.

During the sea trials, the Royal Navy crew along with the BAE Systems engineers and technicians aboard the vessel wil monitor and measure every aspect of the Astute’s performance against the design parameters.

HMS Astute incorporates the latest stealth technology combined with a sonar system and is equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and state-of-the-art Tomahawk land attack missiles.

In addition, Astute is equipped with a digital optical mast system replacing the conventional periscope, which offers low light and infrared capabilities, significantly helping the submarine to quickly capture and analyse visual data, and share it with other fleet assets.

The 93m-long and 11.3m-wide submarine has a maximum submerged displacement of 7,400t.