The Royal Navy’s third Astute Class attack submarine was formally named Artful in a traditional ceremony at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness on Friday.
Marking this milestone in the vessel’s construction, Lady Amanda Zambellas, the wife of the Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, named the submarine in the time honoured tradition of breaking a bottle on its bow; in this instance a bottle of beer from a local Cumbrian brewery Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley.
The naming ceremony comes just two months after the MOD announced that the first two of the seven Astute Class submarines, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, were nearing completion of their extensive sea trials and have been handed over to the Royal Navy to begin to prepare for operations.
Minister for Defence, Equipment and Support Philip Dunne said, “HMS Artful is the third in our fleet of Astute Class submarines, the largest and most advanced attack submarines ordered by the Ministry of Defence providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability to the Royal Navy.
“The Astute submarine building programme represents a significant investment by the Government and is set to sustain over 5,000 UK jobs within BAE systems and the 400 separate suppliers across the supply chain.”
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said, “Today’s naming ceremony in Barrow for Artful adds another capable nuclear submarine to the gathering momentum in the Astute class.
“Ahead of her, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are already being pressed hard towards operational use, contributing to the wider renaissance in the UK’s naval equipment programme and adding to the Royal Navy’s operational authority.”
The Astute class submarines will replace the older Trafalgar Class boats, and possess greater firepower, the latest communications equipment and advanced stealth technology, making them quieter than their predecessors and harder to detect.
Artful is expected to be rolled out of the shipyard construction hall early next year and is due to start sea trials in early 2015.
Press Release, September 23, 2013; Image: Royal Navy