The UK Royal Navy's third Astute-class submarine, Artful, has successfully completed its maiden dive at the BAE Systems dock in Barrow-in-Furness, paving the way for sea trials next year.
As part of the 'trim and incline test', the vessel was immersed to a depth of 15m to measure its precise weight and centre of gravity. The dive helps to determine its safety and stability when deployed in water.
BAE Systems Submarines managing director Tony Johns 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 maiden dive also involved an assessment of the submarine's sonar, navigation and optical systems.
The 97m-long, 7,400t nuclear-powered Artful is capable of precisely striking targets approximately 1,200 miles from the coast, while its sonar system, which boasts a processing power of 2,000 laptops, makes it one of the most powerful vessels in operation.
The first two Astute-class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are currently operational with the navy, while the remaining four vessels, Audacious, Anson, Agamemnon and the yet-to-be-named seventh, are in various phases of construction.
Image: Artful during maiden trials at BAE Systems' dock. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.