Royal Navy’s third Astute-class attack submarine, HMS Artful, has been conducting final contractor sea trials ahead of her maiden deployment set for mid-March 2016.
The submarine sailed from Barrow-in-Furness, England in August last year for her new home at HM Naval Base Clyde, Scotland and since then has been proving her systems and equipment at sea.
These demanding trials also enable her crew to familiarise themselves with how the boat handles in a variety of testing situations as they prepare for operations.
The highlight of the recent trials was the firing of six training variants of the Royal Navy’s heavyweight Spearfish torpedo on the British Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre near the Isle of Skye.
These firings were the most complex of the trials conducted to date as they required a large number of interconnected systems to function together – from loading the torpedoes into their tubes through to the sonar detecting the target and the command system preparing a firing solution.
Artful’s Commanding Officer, Commander Stuart Armstrong, said: “These trials are hugely important as they prove the submarine’s primary capability as a weapon system and it gives us the confidence that should we need to fire in anger everything has been tried and tested.”
Artful will continue sea trials until mid-March when she will become a commissioned warship at a ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde.
This will mark the end of her trials in UK waters and formally mark her acceptance into the Royal Navy following the contractual handover which took place in December.
British defence company BAE Systems is building the seven Royal Navy Astute-class submarines at the company’s Barrow-in-Furness shipyard. In November 2015, BAE Systems was awarded an additional £1.3 billion to build the fifth unit named Anson.