The UK Royal Navy’s third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful has arrived in its base port at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde, where it will continue sea trials prior to entering service later this year.
The 97m-long, 7,400t nuclear-powered submarine has already completed tests of its propulsion and power systems and performed a partial dive in the dock.
UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "The arrival of Artful to HMNB Clyde clearly shows that the UK Government is firmly committed to the future of defence in Scotland, this is the latest addition to what will be the home of all Royal Navy submarines by 2020.
"The Astute submarine programme is a key part of our £163bn equipment plan which has been bolstered by the commitment to increase defence spending and meet the Nato pledge of two per cent of our national income for the rest of this decade."
Astute is the first class of Royal Navy submarine that are not fitted with optical periscopes.
However, it features high-specification video technology, which will provide images into the submarine control room through fibre-optic cables.
Capable of carrying a crew of 98, Astute-class submarines feature Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4) electronic support measures, and are armed with Tomahawk Block IV (tactical tomahawk) cruise missiles, as well as Spearfish torpedoes and mines.
These submarines will be able to operate covertly and remain undetected despite being 50% bigger than the navy’s current Trafalgar-class submarines.
The Royal Navy has already commissioned seven Astute-class submarines and the remaining four vessels are currently under construction.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful is set to enter service later this year. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.