HMS Anson, the fifth Astute class submarine, which BAE Systems has designed and built for the Royal Navy, has departed the Company's shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and headed out to the open sea for the first time.
Anson - Astute Class Submarine, Boat 5, is the most advanced Astute submarine to be delivered to the Royal Navy.
Courtesy BAE Systems
After being guided through the shipyard's dock system and rounding the tip of Walney Island, HMS Anson began her maiden journey to His Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, home of the UK's Submarine Service. She will undertake sea trials there before joining HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, in operational service with the Royal Navy.
Marking entry into the Royal Navy, HMS Anson was formally commissioned in a ceremony last year and is the eighth Navy vessel to bear the name, originally named after Admiral George Anson.
Building on commitments made in the Integrated Review, the completion of HMS Anson demonstrates the strength of British industry and its world-leading nuclear technology.
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."
One of the most sophisticated underwater vessels ever built, HMS Anson represents £1.3 billion of UK investment.
More than 11 years in the making and built in BAE Systems’ Barrow-in-Furness site, the departure of HMS Anson is a significant moment for the UK’s submarine manufacturing industry.
Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Submarines said: "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."
Dr Tim Sheldon, Director Submarines Acquisition for the Submarine Delivery Agency, said: "We commend the tremendous effort by all those involved across the UK in the delivery of HMS Anson to the Royal Navy.
"Her departure from Barrow is a major milestone, not only in her journey to full operational service but for the Astute programme as a whole."
The construction of HMS Anson has included more than 10,000 coders, engineers, scientists, submariners and technicians across the UK. Weighing 7,800 tonnes, she is 97 metres long – just short of two Olympic swimming pools – with 240 kilometres of cabling, which is enough to stretch from Barrow-In-Furness to its new home in Faslane, Scotland. Powered by a Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor, the boat will also be operational for 25 years without refuelling.
The Astute Class is the first nuclear-powered submarine class to be designed entirely in a three-dimensional, computer-aided environment. They are the most advanced boats ever operated by the Royal Navy, providing the capability needed to defend the UK and its allies’ interests at home and overseas.
Commanding Officer of HMS Anson, Cdr David ‘Bing’ Crosby, said: "My team and I are grateful to all across the build enterprise and SDA who have made HMS Anson such a formidable submarine. We are eagerly looking forward to putting the boat through her paces on sea trials, realising her full potential and joining our colleagues on the Clyde – the home of the Royal Navy Submarine Service."
The Astute class are equipped with world-leading sensors, carry Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water. HMS Anson will be armed with up to 38 Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedoes and Block V Tomahawk land attack missiles, able to tackle targets at a range of up to 1,000 miles.
BAE Systems has delivered the first four submarines in the Astute class and the final two – the sixth and seventh boats Agamemnon and Agincourt – are at an advanced stage of construction in Barrow.
The Dreadnought class submarines, which will replace the Royal Navy's Vanguard class, carrying the UK's independent nuclear deterrent, are also being designed and built in Barrow-in-Furness with manufacturing work underway on the first three of four boats.
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).
These programmes 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 programmes of work.