The Duke of Cambridge as Commodore-in-Chief Submarines presented 14 newly qualified submariners with their Dolphins during his first visit to HMS Artful.
All fourteen had to meet the demanding standards of absolute professionalism to be awarded their Dolphins on-board the Royal Navy’s newest attack submarine.
HMS Artful was returning to the UK following a successful trial period in the western Atlantic. During the visit to the Clyde estuary the Commodore-in-Chief made his first dive on an Astute class submarine.
To qualify as a submariner, sailors demonstrate an intimate and instinctive knowledge of more than 30 complex engineering systems, which operate their nuclear submarine and keep its crew safe.
The Dolphins presentation took place in the “bomb shop” where Artful’s torpedoes and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) are stored.
Prior to being awarded their Dolphins, all submariners must pass classroom and sea based assessments, followed by a rigorous examination board designed to test their knowledge of all the vital systems on the submarine.
The Duke’s tour of the boat spanned the forward escape compartment to the manoeuvring room where the nuclear reactor plant and electrical systems are managed. He met members of the crew in the galley, the control room and in their bunk spaces.
HM Submarines Astute, Ambush and Artful are the first of the Astute Class to be accepted into the Royal Navy.
Astute and Ambush are routinely conducting operational deployments.
Both have deployed to the Mediterranean and Middle East where they have been involved in anti-smuggling and security operations and have provided TLAM capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.
The next two submarines in the Class, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow-in-Furness, with Agamemnon and an as yet unnamed Boat 7 to follow.
The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.