BAE Systems has officially delivered the fifth Astute Class nuclear-powered attack submarine, HMS Anson, to the Royal Navy with the vessel departing the company’s shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and headed out to open sea for the first time.
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HMS Anson began her maiden journey to His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, home of the UK’s Submarine Service -— the vessel will undertake sea trials before joining HMS’ Astute, Ambush, Artful, and Audacious in operational service with the Royal Navy.
Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, said, “HMS Anson will play a vital role in defending the UK, providing a competitive edge for decades to come, and I am proud to see her make her journey up to her permanent home on the Clyde.
“Supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the UK, our Astute Class submarines are a leading example of our commitment to defence manufacturing, continuing to boost British industry for decades to come,” Secretary Wallace added.
HMS Anson, which was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy during a ceremony in Barrow last year, is 97 metres long and weighs 7,400 tonnes — the Astute Class are equipped with a suite of advanced sensors, carry Raytheon’s Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water.
BAE Systems has delivered the first four submarines in the Astute Class and the sixth and seventh boats are at an advanced stage of construction in Barrow.
Steve Timms, managing director of BAE Systems’ submarines business, echoed Secretary Wallace’s comments, saying, “It’s with enormous pride that we bid farewell to HMS Anson as she departs our site to take up her vital role helping to protect the UK’s national security.
“This is a truly national endeavour, so delivering the most capable attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy is a tremendous moment for our company, our employees, the Barrow community and the whole of the submarine enterprise, not least our vast and crucially important UK-wide supply chain,” Timms added.
BAE Systems is also undertaking early design and concept work for the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines which will eventually replace the Astute Class, referred to as SSN-Replacement (SSNR) — a potential candidate for Australia’s future nuclear-powered submarine to be delivered under the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
These programs are supported by BAE Systems Submarines’ growing workforce of more than 11,000 people which will be bolstered later this year when more than 600 apprentices and 200 graduates join the business.
BAE Systems’ submarines business will also be recruiting more than 2,500 experienced professionals into its workforce to help deliver the three programs of work.