The UK Royal Navy has received the third of the new Astute-class attack submarines, Artful, which will form a vital part of the country’s security for decades to come.
The submarine was previously owned by the UK Ministry of Defence’s body responsible for procuring and supporting equipment for the armed forces, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).
UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "The handover of Artful to the Royal Navy is another major step in the Astute Class submarine programme, which continues to gather pace. These attack submarines will provide the Royal Navy with the most technologically advanced submarine Britain has ever sent to sea, and will be a vital part of UK security for decades to come.
"They are being funded by our growing defence budget and our £178bn investment in equipment, which is delivering the very best possible kit to our Armed Forces."
Artful will be commissioned in March 2016 and will be added to the fleet alongside other navy units in HM Naval Base Clyde.
DE&S Submarines Acquisition director rear admiral Mike Wareham said: "The handover of Artful to the Royal Navy is a proud moment for DE&S, reflecting a key milestone and a significant achievement in the Astute programme.
"It follows a number of sea trials which have successfully demonstrated the submarine’s capability and means she can now begin to prepare for operations with the Royal Navy."
BAE Systems Marine Services (BAES(MS)) was contracted to build seven Astute-class submarines for the Royal Navy, which will progressively replace the Trafalgar-class submarines.
HMS Astute and HMS Ambush have already been accepted by Navy Command, while the next two submarines, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow, with Agamemnon and an unnamed vessel to follow.
Image: HMS Artful. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.