HMS Anson (S123), the fifth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy, has been launched at our site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The 7,400-tonne nuclear-powered submarine, officially named at a ceremony in December, emerged from the Devonshire Dock Hall and entered the water for the first time earlier on April 20, 2021. The launch was a special moment for the Barrow shipyard, which is celebrating its 150th year and a long and proud relationship with the Royal Navy.
HMS Anson (S123) will now begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme, before leaving Barrow for sea trials with the Royal Navy next year.
Steve Timms, Managing Director BAE Systems Submarines: «The launch marks an important milestone in the Astute programme and seeing Anson enter the water at such an advanced state is a tangible demonstration of everyone’s hard work over the years. Designing and building nuclear-powered submarines is a national endeavour and days like this bring a huge sense of pride for our workforce, our partners in the submarine enterprise and our UK supply chain, not to mention our communities. We now look forward to a successful test and commissioning phase and working alongside Anson’s crew to prepare the submarine for operations with the Royal Navy».
The Astute class boats are the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. Measuring 97 metres/318 feet in length, the boats can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water.
The first four submarines in the class, HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120), HMS Artful (S121) and HMS Audacious (S122), have been handed over to the Royal Navy, with a further two boats currently under construction at our Barrow site.
Working alongside the Submarine Delivery Agency and Rolls-Royce, the Company is also a member of the Dreadnought Alliance, helping to deliver the UK’s next class of nuclear deterrent submarines. Two of the four submarines are under construction, with the first due to enter service in the early 2030s.
Approximately 10,000 people work on the Dreadnought and Astute programmes at our Barrow site. To deliver these complex programmes, we continue to invest in and develop our employees and recruit new talent. Over the next five years, we expect to recruit more than 200 graduates and 1,500 apprentices.
The fifth Astute class submarine has officially been named Anson in a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
In line with tradition, Anson was blessed by The Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy and then christened with a bottle of cider being smashed against her hull.
The 97 metre long, 7,400 tonne submarine is due to be launched into the water in Barrow early next year, ahead of leaving for sea trials in 2022.
Cliff Robson, Managing Director, BAE Systems’ Submarines: «The naming of Anson is a significant step towards her joining the other four Astute class submarines already in service with the Royal Navy. Throughout this year, we’ve adapted the business to keep our people safe whilst allowing them to continue the important role of delivering critical capability to our customer. Reaching this important milestone is testament to the dedicated work of our workforce, our Royal Navy partners and the Submarine Delivery Agency».
More than 1,700 people work on the Astute programme, which is delivering seven attack submarines to the Royal Navy. Earlier this year, HMS Audacious, the fourth boat in the class, left Barrow for her operational base, at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Faslane.
Work is also well under way in Barrow on Astute boats six and seven, as well as the first two boats in the Dreadnought class, which is the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, work on both Astute and Dreadnought has continued throughout this year, with major changes being implemented across its Barrow and satellite sites to enable employees to work safely and adhere to social distancing. It is for that reason that only a handful of people were able to witness the naming ceremony.
Each submarine has a sponsor whose role includes carrying out the official naming. Anson’s sponsor is Julie Weale, the wife of Rear Admiral John Weale, who retired from the Royal Navy as Head of Submarine Service and Flag Officer Scotland and North Ireland earlier this year.
Ian Booth, Chief Executive, Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA): «This is the first submarine to bear the name, HMS Anson, but the eighth naval vessel to carry the title which has a rich history spanning several hundred years. I am certain she will carry on that heritage well into the future as she joins a world-beating, cutting-edge submarine fleet that is of strategic importance to the UK’s security and prosperity».
Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute class submarines never need to be refuelled and they can manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean, meaning they are able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing. With 98 crew able to monitor world-leading sensors, the Astute-class carry both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.
BAE Systems’ Submarine business employs approximately 10,000 people mainly in the North West of England with many more in the supply chain. The business spends more than £1 billion per year with over 1,000 suppliers who support the Astute and Dreadnought programmes, more than 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.
HMS Audacious (S122), the fourth of seven Astute-class attack submarines being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, set sail from our Barrow-in-Furness site on 6 April 2020.
New ways of working and amended protocols have been introduced at the site, in line with Government guidelines, to enable a small team of employees to provide vital support to the Royal Navy ahead of the boat’s departure, while protecting their health and wellbeing.
The submarine was guided into open water for the first time before setting off on her inaugural journey to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, the home of the UK’s Submarine Service.
Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: «This is an incredibly difficult time for employees, their families and the community but, as is often the case in times of great adversity, it has been truly humbling to see everyone come together to support the Government’s critical defence programmes and help deliver HMS Audacious (S122)».
Ian Booth, Chief Executive of the Submarine Delivery Agency, said: «The departure of HMS Audacious (S122) from Barrow is a key milestone in the Astute Class programme. The delivery of our incredibly complex submarine programmes depends on the extremely skilled submarine workforce and close collaboration with our industrial partners across the supply chain to deliver a first class product for the Royal Navy. I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in the significant efforts to meet this milestone and the key roles they have played in the shadow of these unprecedented circumstances to get HMS Audacious (S122) to sea».
The boat’s departure comes days after the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, thanked the defence industry for its efforts to continue to deliver critical and nationally important defence operations and programmes during the difficult and unprecedented times the country is facing.
The 97 metre/318 feet, 7,400-tonne Astute-class submarines are the most capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. The first three submarines, HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121) are in service, while the final three Astute-class are at various stages of construction at Barrow.
On May 14, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the Ministry of Defence is investing a massive £2.5 billion in boosting Britain’s submarine building projects.
Speaking at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria, the home of British submarine construction, he announced £960 million worth of contracts have been signed to ramp up the next phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.
He also announced that the Ministry of Defence has signed a £1.5 billion contract to build a seventh Astute hunter-killer submarine for the Royal Navy, before revealing that the attack boat will be called HMS Agincourt (S125). It will be the sixth vessel in the Royal Navy to be named after the Battle of Agincourt of 1415.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: «This multi-billion-pound investment in our nuclear submarines shows our unwavering commitment to keeping the UK safe and secure from intensifying threats. Agincourt will complete the Royal Navy’s seven-strong fleet of hunter-killer attack subs, the most powerful to ever enter British service, whilst our nuclear deterrent is the ultimate defence against the most extreme dangers we could possibly face. Not only is this a massive boost for our armed forces, but it’s huge for Barrow, the heart of sub-building in this country. Today’s news supports 8,000 BAE Systems’ submarine jobs, as well as thousands more in the supply chain, protecting prosperity and providing opportunity right across the country».
The multi-billion-pound announcements will help sustain around 8,000 jobs in BAE Systems’ submarine business, as well as thousands more across the UK submarine supply chain.
The Defence Secretary made the announcements during a ceremony, in which also opened a new £100 million submarine construction building in the Cumbria factory.
In front of a gathered workforce of employees and apprentices, he unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the state-of-the-art Central Yard Facility building which, at 26,700 metres squared, is equivalent in size to 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools and, at 45 metres high, is as tall as ten double-decker buses.
It will be used to outfit and test each section of the new Dreadnought submarines. The Dreadnought Submarine Programme will now move into its second phase. This will continue the design and build of the first Dreadnought submarine and commence the build of the second, including furthering the design and manufacture of the nuclear propulsion power plant.
This phase has commenced with contracts signed for £900 million and £60 million with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce respectively.
Elsewhere, Defence Minister Guto Bebb will be in Derby today – with the Rolls-Royce contract seeing over 700 jobs sustained at their factory in the city.
Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: «The Dreadnought Programme is a true national endeavour, furthering our world-class nuclear capability. Today’s announcement includes a £60m contract for Rolls-Royce, supporting over 700 jobs here in Derby as the factory continues to make the reactors that will power our state-of-the-art Dreadnought subs into the 2060s. I’d like to thank everyone at Rolls-Royce in Derby for their contribution to maintaining our Continuous at Sea Deterrent, protecting us against the most serious threats to our way of life, every hour of every day».
The Submarine Delivery Agency, which was established last month, will project manage the construction of future Royal Navy submarines, and support those in-service, working with Navy Command and the newly established Defence Nuclear Organisation.
Chief Executive Officer of the Submarine Delivery Agency, Ian Booth said: «The incredibly complex Astute and Dreadnought programmes maximise the tremendously skilled and experienced workforce we have across the UK submarine business. Both programmes require commitment and close collaboration with our industrial partners across the supply chain and in the newly formed Dreadnought Alliance, which will deliver a step change in how we will work together to efficiently and effectively deliver nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy».
Cliff Robson, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: «Securing this latest funding for our submarines programmes is excellent news for BAE Systems and the 8,700 employees in our Submarines business, as well as our local community in Barrow and the thousands of people across our UK supply chain who help deliver these nationally important programmes for the Royal Navy. We continue to make progress on these highly complex and technical programmes and today’s announcements will allow us to move forward with greater certainty and stability».
Steve Dearden, President-Submarines for Rolls-Royce said: «The Dreadnought class programme is a vital, national endeavour and we are immensely proud of the role that we play as custodian of the naval nuclear propulsion capability in the UK. Dreadnought will be powered by the next generation Naval Pressurised Water Reactor technology, which will be simpler, require 30% less maintenance and have reduced in-service costs. Today’s delivery phase II announcement allows us to move from design through to manufacture and the delivery of major components that are essential for the submarine build timeline».
According to In Cumbria Magazine, the Ministry of Defence has announced it will sign a contract for Astute boat seven less than 24 hours after ministers told Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock he would not have to wait long for «good news».
John hailed the announcement, made in a written statement from new defence procurement minister Guto Bebb, as a «huge relief for the workforce and UK naval security».
The breakthrough comes after several fraught months in which Ministry of Defence officials and BAE management were put under pressure to scrap the seventh boat to alleviate the defence equipment funding crisis.
In the formal statement, Mr. Bebb informed MPs: «The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has received approval in principle from Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) to recognise new contingent liabilities associated with the Astute Boat 7 ‘Whole Boat’ Contract».
The announcement paves the way for the formal contract to be signed before the end of the financial years.
Responding after meeting Mr. Bebb about the submarine programme last night, John said: «Thank goodness the government has listened to the arguments and is pressing ahead with Astute boat seven after all. This is a huge relief for the workforce and naval security which would have been gravely undermined if this vital boat had been withdrawn while Russia is modernising its submarine fleet and targeting UK interests. This announcement is a big feather in the cap for the new managing director of Barrow shipyard Cliff Robson who has successfully made the case that scrapping the boat at this late stage would waste hundreds of millions of pounds and send the build programme into disarray. Defence ministers still need to win the argument with their Treasury counterparts on releasing more money for Dreadnought early on in the build programme, but they will go into that battle with renewed confidence after this win».
Last month a leaked navy document showed the scrapping of boat seven was being actively considered.
Mr. Woodcock raised fears for the future of the defence programme, which has already seen Astute-class submarines launched from the town’s shipyard.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr. Woodcock claimed it would be «unthinkable» not to build the full order of submarines, given the country’s continued commitment to NATO.
The fourth Astute class submarine, HMS Audacious (S122), which is being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, has achieved a significant milestone by completing her first ever dive.
The trim and basin dive took place over two days in Devonshire Dock, at the Company’s site in Barrow-in-Furness last week.
The operation, which saw Audacious submerge fully under water for the first time, tested many of her on-board systems, and proved the safety and stability of the 7,400-tonne, 318-foot/97-metre-long attack submarine.
Employees from BAE Systems worked alongside Audacious’ crew, including its Commanding Officer, Captain Scott Bower, to complete the test.
Officially named in December 2016 and launched in April last year, HMS Audacious (S122) is scheduled to leave Barrow for sea trials later this year.
HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121) are already in-service with the Royal Navy. Boats 5 and 6, HMS Anson (S123) and HMS Agamemnon (S124), along with a seventh, as yet unnamed, Astute-class submarine are in different stages of construction at the Barrow site.
HMS Audacious (S122), the fourth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy, was launched on April 28 by BAE Systems at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK.
The 318-foot/97-metre long, 7,400 tonne highly-capable nuclear powered submarine which was officially named at a ceremony in December last year, emerged from the site’s giant Devonshire Dock Hall yesterday. On April 28, it was lowered into the dock water for the first time to begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme ahead of leaving Barrow for sea trials next year.
Will Blamey, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: «Today’s launch marks an important milestone in the Astute programme and demonstrates our pride in building submarines for the Royal Navy. Audacious enters the water in a more advanced state of build than any previous Astute class submarine, which puts us in a good position for the next phase of work – the testing and commissioning of her complex systems. Designing and building a nuclear-powered submarine is extremely challenging and today’s launch is yet another reminder of the unique skills required to deliver such complex programmes. We now look forward to working alongside Audacious’ crew to prepare her for sea trials, before she joins her sister submarines in service with the Royal Navy».
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines Rear Admiral John Weale said: «It’s an exciting moment to see Audacious enter the water for the first time ahead of trials. Such a feat of engineering is testament to the skills of the BAE Systems workforce in Barrow. As part of an increasingly capable Royal Navy, Audacious will go on to serve on operations right around the world, helping keep Britain safe».
Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, the Astute class submarines are the most highly-capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. They can strike at targets up to 540 NM/621 miles/1,000 km from the coast with pin-point accuracy, are equipped with a world-leading sonar capability and powered by a nuclear reactor. The first three submarines in the class, HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121), are now in service with the final three Astute class submarines are at various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
BAE Systems is the prime contractor in the Astute programme and the UK’s only designer and builder of nuclear powered submarines – one of the world’s most complex engineering challenges. The Company is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines. Construction of the first of four submarines, named Dreadnought, began last year.
The Company’s Submarines business employs approximately 8,500 people and spends more than £300M per year with over 1,000 direct suppliers – 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.
HMS Audacious (S122), the fourth submarine in the Astute class, was officially named on 16 December 2016 during a ceremony at our Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Guests watched as Lady Jones, Audacious’ sponsor and wife of Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, named the 7,400 tonne, 318-foot/97-metre-long attack submarine. In keeping with tradition, she then smashed a bottle of locally brewed beer against her hull.
Tony Johns, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: «Today marks an important milestone in Audacious’ build programme and is the culmination of many years’ hard work. We have already delivered three highly-capable Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy and Audacious now takes another significant step towards joining her sister submarines. This is a fitting end to a very important year for our business, in which we also began construction on the Dreadnought submarine programme and opened the first of our new facilities. The focus for Audacious now turns to getting her ready for launch next year».
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: «HMS Audacious is the fourth in our fleet of Astute Class submarines, the largest and most advanced attack submarines in service with the Royal Navy, already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world. Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine building programmes for years to come».
HMS Audacious (S122) will stay inside the Company’s main construction facility – the Devonshire Dock Hall – following today’s ceremony, before being launched next year.
BAE Systems is the prime contractor responsible for the design, build, test and commissioning of the seven Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarines. It is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines that will carry the continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent.
The Company’s Submarine operation employs approximately 8,000 people and spends more than £300 M per year with over 3,000 suppliers – 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.
HMS Artful (S121) test fires first torpedo using new UK-made advanced Combat System. The firing tested the BAE Systems designed Common Combat System (CCS) on board, which functions as the digital «brain» of the boat controlling its «eyes», «ears» and «nervous system».
Using the torpedo test, the cutting-edge system was able to interpret sonar readings, and then attack a moving target with a practice weapon.
The CCS, completed ahead of time so it was ready for the third rather than fourth Astute submarine, uses the latest technology to collect and process huge amounts of data from sensors such as sonar, providing key information to help inform important Command decisions.
The system is so advanced it can even process information fed back from the world-leading Sonar 2076, which allows the Royal Navy to detect and track the quietest of adversaries.
Developed through the Astute Build Programme, the Common Combat System is a collaborative industry effort.
Managed through a £50 million contract with BAE Systems, the CCS hosts sonar processing capability developed by Thales UK, and was also worked on by global hardware provider Dell; Poole-based systems designers Aish Technologies; and cloud computing company VMWare, which employs UK workers in Staines-upon-Thames and Milton Keynes.
Installation work is being undertaken by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness and Babcock Marine at HMNB Devonport and HMNB Faslane. In total, CCS is sustaining around 146 jobs across the UK.
The next generation Command and Control System will be integrated onto every Astute and Vanguard-class submarine currently in service, and fitted to every new Astute-class submarine coming into service in the future, ensuring consistency right across the fleet. The system will also be used on board the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear submarines.
Artful is the first of the Royal Navy’s submarine to get the new Command and Control System – the system will be rolled out across all Vanguard and current and future Astute-class submarines.
Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said: «This Command and Control System, designed as part of an innovative partnership between Defence and UK industry, will allow British submarines to adapt more quickly to changing mission requirements, making operations even safer and more efficient. It is a next generation system, both highly capable and cost-effective, which can be installed right across the Royal Navy’s submarine fleets, thereby guaranteeing the best capability for the Royal Navy and the best value for money for the taxpayer. It is also yet another example of how our £178 billion investment in equipment is giving our Armed Forces the best possible kit».
The capability allows the applications of several different systems, which previously would have needed their own controls, to be brought together in a single computer environment to save precious space within the submarine’s hull. It also allows the Control Room to be used with greater flexibility.
Director Submarines Support at the MOD’s defence procurement organisation, DE&S, Rear Admiral Keith Beckett said: «The Common Combat System allows the Royal Navy to detect and track the quietest adversaries. It is a huge improvement in terms of resilience and flexibility and we’re at the early stages of exploring the system’s huge potential. The successful development of the system is another example of UK Defence working together with British business and enterprise to deliver world-class and battle-winning submarine capability».
Rear Admiral Submarines, John Weale said: «We are seeing the resurgence of the Submarine Service with the introduction of new submarines, a clear direction and motivated personnel. The Common Combat System in HMS Artful (S121) is a strong demonstration of this and helps to deliver my vision for the Service as the UK’s elite underwater force. The unique fighting power of the Royal Navy’s Submarine force, boat for boat and crew for crew, is second to none».
HMS Artful (S121) is undergoing her first combat capability trials since she was handed over to the Royal Navy in mid-December 2015. These trials will be completed by July 2016, after which Artful will undergo a period of maintenance and training to prepare for operations.
The third of the new Astute Class attack submarines, Artful, has officially been handed over to the Royal Navy. Until now the submarine was owned by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the MOD’s body responsible for procuring and supporting equipment for the Armed Forces. The boat and her crew will now be added to the Royal Navy Fleet alongside the Navy’s other units.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: «The handover of Artful to the Royal Navy is another major step in the Astute Class submarine programme, which continues to gather pace. These attack submarines will provide the Royal Navy with the most technologically advanced submarine Britain has ever sent to sea and will be a vital part of UK security for decades to come. They are being funded by our growing Defence budget and our £178 billion investment in equipment, which is delivering the very best possible kit to our Armed Forces».
Following her hand over on Thursday 10 December, the next milestone for the boat will be an official commissioning ceremony in March 2016, where her sponsor, Lady Amanda Zambellas, will formally welcome Artful into the fleet in the home of the UK Submarine Service, HM Naval Base Clyde. Lady Zambellas said: «This is a really important milestone in the life of Artful as she takes her place in the Fleet under the White Ensign. I am extremely proud of my association with the submarine and look forward to her commissioning next year when I will also meet the Ship’s Company that will take her on operations around the world».
Since her arrival on the Clyde in August, Artful has continued her programme of Contractor Sea Trials. Most recently Rear Admiral Submarines John Weale became the first officer to be officially piped onboard the Royal Navy’s newest warship, and there was a change of command from Captain Scott Bower to Commander Stuart Armstrong. «I very much welcome Artful’s firepower, state of the art communications equipment and advanced stealth technologies into the fleet», said Rear Admiral Weale, head of the UK Submarine Service.
Artful is one of seven Astute class submarines being built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems Marine Services (BAES(MS)) in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, which are progressively replacing the Trafalgar Class submarines. HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, and now Artful, are the first of the Class to be accepted by Navy Command, which is responsible for operating all of the Royal Navy’s vessels.
Rear Admiral Mike Wareham, Director Submarines Acquisition at DE&S, the MOD’s procurement organisation, said: «The handover of Artful to the Royal Navy is a proud moment for DE&S reflecting a key milestone and a significant achievement in the Astute programme. It follows a number of sea trials which have successfully demonstrated the submarine’s capability and means she can now begin to prepare for operations with the Royal Navy».
The next two submarines in the Class, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow, with Agamemnon and the unnamed Boat 7 to follow. BAE Systems is responsible for delivering all seven Astute Class submarines and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard class, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent, also based at HM Naval Base Clyde.