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pointed, with great potential
KIPPERS and custard.
previous reactors. And not only is Astute Some of her crew have been about two weeks to get used to six
Foxes and chickens.
Around 100 sailors live very quiet, but she is also with her for five years, some for hours on, six hours off again.
Some things just do not sit
in close proximity to the strong enough and flexible five months, some walked on board “I am told I am known as
comfortably together.
reactor and weapons; enough to deal with the just weeks before she sailed north Shaun of the Bed because I sleep
So how about a nuclear power
some of the operating underwater shocks to her home port of Faslane. so well on board.”
plant and high explosives?
positions are just associated with sub- That will see her through Astute’s Commanding Officer,
Weld them all together, then
three or four metres surface warfare. to 2011, though she is due to Cdr Andy Coles, said there were
stick the result several hundred
from the reactor core And in terms of clout commission this spring. some “amazing new features” on
feet deep, at huge pressure (the
– although British the submarine is again Despite the size of the the submarine, one of the main
equivalent of 400 family saloon
nuclear submariners a step forward from submarine – almost 50 per cent ones being the switch from an
cars pressing down on every
are generally found her predecessors; she greater than the T-boats – there is ordinary hull-piercing periscope
square metre of pressure hull), in
to have been exposed carries more torpedoes still a need to squeeze a lot of kit to digital technology.
a hostile, corrosive liquid.
to less radiation than and tube-launched missiles into a small space; BAE estimates Optical masts, with smaller
Move the whole thing around at
members of the public because than any other class, which that a typical nuclear submarine is profiles than before and
high speed.
the background radiation from includes the Spearfish heavyweight three times more densely packed incorporating infra-red and low-
And just to make it that much
environmental sources, including torpedo and Tomahawk cruise with machinery and kit than a light features, can capture pictures
more of a challenge, build it using
minerals and the sun’s rays, do missiles. surface vessel. or video and transmit them to
not affect those on board. Astute’s keel was laid in 2001,
more than a million components
Despite that there are other units or headquarters within
We said earlier that Astute is the and the spin-off from such a build
yet make it so quiet you would
improvements over the Trafalgar- seconds.
latest hunter-killer, but versatility programme is sub-contracts and
● Cdr Andy Coles, Commanding
hardly know it is there.
is the byword of the modern Fleet jobs, with around 50 per cent
Offi cer of HMS Astute
class. But now it is a chance for his
LS(TSM) Rockey McGovern men to make their mark as the
That, in a nutshell, is HMS
submarine, as explored by the of the cost of the boat going on towers have offices, tool lockers has served on all recent classes Navy gets to grips with the new
current S- and T-boats. materials. and storage space on board, which of RN nuclear submarines, and boat.
She may be later than originally
Mr Hudson said a lot of effort In 2008 alone the Astute spend means managers are there at the pointed out the TV, DVD player “This can be improved – a
planned, and she may cost more
had gone into the art of stealth – on material was £215 million from sharp end and the workforce do and games consoles (with their submarine first of class is a living,
than originally planned.
true stealth, not the hokum they 410 suppliers across the UK. not have to traipse around the hall own TV) in the junior rates’ mess. breathing article, and some things
But she is an astounding piece
spin about stealth aircraft. Around 5,000 people were to retrieve tools and components, “We’ve even got a dishwasher,” can be improved,” said Cdr
of engineering, and easily the
Because a stealth bomber might actually involved in building saving a great deal of time. he said. Coles.
most powerful and capable attack
sneak past radar but they – and Astute, many from Barrow, and The trials Astute is undergoing “Instead of arguing about who is “The small things that make
submarine the Royal Navy has
their vapour trails – are visible the programme continues to at present will prove a number not washing their dishes, it is who’s operating this submarine better,
ever possessed.
in the sky; a submarine can hang support British industry; Boats 2 of hypotheses, such as the not emptying the dishwasher...” the things that help the crew to do
John Hudson, managing director
around, fulfil a mission and slip and 3 (Ambush and Artful) are crucial noise factor; the boat is LS McGovern said there were their jobs.
of BAE Systems Submarine
away without anyone knowing recognisable in the Devonshire designed for stealth, and tests still issues about the level of comfort “We will spot those when
Solutions, pointed out that the last
where, when or even if anything Dock Hall, the keel for Boat 4 so far show that Astute’s noise on board, but admitted it was a the crew is on board and it will
HMS Astute, an Amphion-class
was there at all. (Audacious) has been laid and signature conforms closely to the better billet than the old boats. be used for other boats and, if
boat, had been built at Barrow
“It is a quantum leap in because of the specialist nature of predictions. Fellow leading hand and necessary, retrofitted here.”
in 1944, and the deeps of the
capability over the T-class,” said some equipment and materials, Once the moving platform sonar specialist Shaun Robinson Other features include a
day would be astonished by the
Mr Hudson. long-lead items for Boat 5 are in (Astute herself) has been pointed out that every one of the communications fit which allows
advances between their Astute and
Which makes the class a very the pipeline. thoroughly proved, she will be 100 or so crew on board during members of the command team
the new version.
potent surveillance tool, gathering BAE Systems have developed tested as a military asset, ensuring a normal patrol would have their wherever they are on the boat, to
The challenges in building
data on people, ships and places their own techniques throughout she can deliver weapons as own sleeping space – no more be contacted through earpieces
the new class of hunter-killer – in total anonymity – useful skills the build programme.
required, work with boats and ‘hot-bunking’ where members of instead of having to pipe.
originally a description of their in countering terrorism and piracy One major innovation is the
helicopters for casualty evacuations different watches use the same The Navy can hardly wait to
intended role in seeking out and as well as undertaking more use of modular towers on Boat
and so on. bunk at different times. put the boat on the front line.
destroying enemy ballistic missile conventional tasks. 3 rather than scaffolding; such
“She has been tested as far as “It’s a bit of a novelty for some “Astute is a great piece of kit –
boats – were considerable.
she can in Barrow – systems and lads,” said Shaun. we are very proud of it,” said Rear
Her compact nuclear reactor, ● On this page, clockwise from right: Astute-class boats 2 and 3 –
crew and so on. Now it is time to “I have been ten years on Admiral Simon Lister, Director of
not much bigger than a domestic Ambush (right of picture) and Artful – take shape in the Devonshire take her to sea,” said Mr Hudson. submarines, and it will take me Submarines.
dustbin, will supply all power Dock Hall of the BAE Systems Submarine Solutions shipyard in
requirements for the boats’s 25- Barrow; HMS Astute is gently ushered alongside at Clyde Naval
year life without the need to refuel, Base; the crew of HMS Astute line up for the camera shortly before
and is much more responsive to the submarine made her fi rst foray out to sea on her way north to
power output requirements than the Clyde All pictures other than on the Clyde: BAE Systems
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