The UK Royal Navy's third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful has been officially commissioned into service.
Following its delivery to the Royal Navy, the submarine had undergone trials to assess the functionality of her systems and equipment at sea prior to its deployment into operation next year.
Naval Staff chief and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: "Today's ceremony dramatically increases the operational capability of the Submarine Service with the commissioning of our third Astute-class boat, and is another milestone in the journey towards HM Naval Base Clyde becoming the UK Submarine Centre of Specialisation by 2020."
HMS Artful had recently conducted an exercise involving the firing of six heavyweight Spearfish torpedoes at the British Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre near the Isle of Skye using the BAE Systems-designed common combat system (CCS).
The CCS constitutes the central system of the submarine controlling the vital systems of the vessel.
The Astute-class submarines operated by the Royal Navy are outfitted with sensors and weaponry which enable them to engage in attack operations.
HMS Artful follows the previous two submarines built by BAE systems, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush.
The boats have already been accepted by Navy Command, who are currently deployed in the Mediterranean, engaged in anti-smuggling and security operations, and have provided Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.
The next two submarines, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow, with Agamemnon and an unnamed vessel to follow.
Image: Astute-class submarine HMS Artful's commissioning ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.