The British Royal Navy’s newest and most advanced nuclear attack submarine has successfully completed its first mission.
The Navy’s Astute-class attack submarines are 318-foot (97 meters) submarines, weighing 7,400 tons and powered by nuclear reactors that not only extend their range but also help the crew produce their own oxygen and drinking water during arduous and lengthy deployments. These massive submarines are capable of circumnavigating the globe while submerged. These features make them the largest, most advanced, and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.
Four of them – HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, and HMS Audacious – are already in operation. The fifth one, the HMS Anson, is gearing up to hit the water soon, while the last two – HMS Agamemnon and Agincourt – are still under construction.
HMS Audacious recently successfully completed NATO security patrols in the Mediterranean on its maiden operational deployment. The submarine joined its first three sisters on the front line for the first time in January after formally being commissioned in September 2021.
After loading Tomahawk missiles – just one part of the Astute-class’s powerful armory alongside the Spearfish heavyweight torpedo – in Gibraltar, Audacious sailed into the Mediterranean and completed exercises with NATO allies.
The training tested Audacious’ ability to evade, track and engage its foes underwater and on the surface. It offered NATO allies the chance to pit their wits against a nuclear attack submarine – a relatively rare training opportunity for many navies as they looked to hunt down Audacious beneath the waves.
“These exercises helped HMS Audacious to demonstrate her prowess as the newest, most capable SSN that the UK has to offer while also strengthening NATO capability and interoperability and demonstrating our resolve towards NATO Missions,” said Commanding Officer Commander Jim Howard.
Fresh from its own deployment to the Arctic, in which it carried out a number of missions, including sub-surface stealth raids with Royal Marines Commandos, sister submarine HMS Ambush joined Audacious as she limbered up for full operations off the Scottish coast. When the fleet is complete, it will become the Royal Navy’s most powerful submarine range in history.