The UK Royal Navy’s third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful has started its sea trials, marking its maiden voyage after completing construction at BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
The 97m-long, 7,400t nuclear-powered submarine is expected to join the Royal Navy fleet around the end of this year.
BAE Systems Submarines managing director Tony Johns said: "Seeing Artful exit from Barrow today is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from everyone at BAE Systems, our partners and the hundreds of businesses in our supply chain network.
"Everyone involved in the Astute programme should feel immensely proud of their achievements as the third in class Astute submarine reaches this significant milestone."
HMS Artful is capable of precisely striking targets approximately 1,200 miles from the coast and the Sonar 2076 system equipped aboard the vessel boasts a processing power of 2,000 laptops, making it one of the most powerful vessels in operation.
Artful has already completed tests of its propulsion and power systems and performed a partial dive in the dock.
The Royal Navy has already commissioned seven Astute-class submarines and the remaining four vessels are currently under construction.
The Astute-class 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.
Image: HMS Artful is capable of precisely striking targets approximately 1,200 miles from the coast. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.