HMS Artful, Royal Navy’s first Astute Class submarine on March 18 officially started service with the Royal Navy after a ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde.
Since the 97 metre submarine was handed over to the Royal Navy by BAE Systems Submarines in December 2015, it has been conducting trials to prove her systems and equipment at sea, ahead of her first operational deployment later in 2017.
Artful is the first of the Royal Navy’s submarines to be fitted with the Common Combat System (CCS), which is regarded as the digital ‘brain’ of the boat controlling its ‘eyes’, ‘ears’ and ‘nervous system’.
Artful’s two sister boats Astute and Ambush have already successfully conducted 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 Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (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, with Agamemnon and the unnamed Boat 7 to follow.
BAE Systems is responsible for delivering the Astute Class and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard class, Successor, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent, and also be based at HM Naval Base Clyde.