In a ceremony at BAE Systems‘ submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, the Royal Navy officially christened its latest Astute class submarine, HMS Agamemnon

The event marked a milestone for UK defence and highlighted the nation’s commitment to investing in sovereign capabilities.

Amid Barrow-in-Furness’s landscape, dignitaries and naval officials gathered to witness the christening of HMS Agamemnon, named after the legendary ancient Greek king.

Lady SJ Sedwill, the esteemed Lady Sponsor, bestowed her blessings upon the vessel, symbolising a union of tradition.

In recent years, the British Royal Navy has recently commissioned two Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarines, HMS Audacious and HMS Anson

Steve Timms, managing director of BAE Systems’ Submarines, emphasised the significance of HMS Agamemnon within the broader context of the UK’s nuclear submarine program.

Timms said: “This is a key milestone for Agamemnon and the UK nuclear submarine programme and contributes to the Government’s Defence Nuclear Enterprise Command Paper, which underpinned the importance of our business and Barrow in delivering this national endeavour. 

“The Astute Class submarines are a vital component of our nation’s defence capabilities, and we are fully focused on completing the remainder of Agamemnon’s programme so she can join her sister submarines in service with the Royal Navy.”

Five Astute Class submarines are already in service; construction is underway for the seventh.

According to GlobalData’s The Global Submarine Market 2023-2033 report, BAE Systems is expected to garner business of $23.9bn over the forecast period owing to its contracts for Dreadnought-class, SSNR (Submersible Ship Nuclear Replacement), and Astute-class submarines which the Royal Navy is procuring.

The technology embedded within the Astute Class submarines is at the heart of this commitment. HMS Agamemnon weighs 7,400 tonnes and is equipped with nuclear propulsion systems. It can manufacture oxygen and fresh water from the ocean, revealing a level of self-sufficiency.

Defence procurement minister James Cartlidge highlighted the program’s role in sustaining tens of thousands of jobs and ensuring the nation’s strategic advantage for decades, saying: “The Astute Class programme continues to support tens of thousands of jobs, with these submarines being a leading example of our commitment to investing in British sovereign capabilities.”

As part of the SSN-AUKUS programme, the UK is poised to share its knowledge in submarine design and construction with allies such as Australia and the United States.

With its capabilities, the sixth Astute Class submarine symbolises the UK’s commitment to safeguarding its interests.