HMS Audacious, the fourth of overall seven Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines the Royal Navy will operate, was launched on April 28, at BAE Systems’ Devonshire Dock Hall, in Scotland.
The naming ceremony of the 7,400 tonne, 97-metre long submarine took place in December last year, one year after the third Astute submarine, HMS Artful, was officially handed over to the Royal Navy.
HMS Audacious will now test her propulsion and combat systems before joining the Royal Navy in 2018.
As her sister ships, HMAS Audacious will be carrying Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and the Tomahawk cruise missiles. The submarines are fitted with the Common Combat System developed by BAE Systems and Thales UK.
The UK Ministry of Defence on April 19 awarded BAE Systems a $£1.4 billion contract for construction of the sixth submarine in the class, Agamemnon. Work on the submarine is already underway in Devonshire.
The ministry also said that the keel for seventh and final Astute-class submarine – as yet unnamed – will be laid in 2017.