Friday, July 19, 2013

DTN News - BRITISH DEFENSE NEWS: Royal Navy's New Astute Class Hunter-Killer Subs Enter Service

DTN News - BRITISH DEFENSE NEWS: Royal Navy's New Astute Class Hunter-Killer Subs Enter Service
*The Navy’s two most advanced hunter-killer submarines ever have entered service after years of delays.
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent 5:39PM BST 19 Jul 2013
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - July 19, 2013: HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are the first of seven new nuclear-powered British attack submarines to become operational over the next decade.

The Astute class submarines have cost more than £1 billion each and are among the most advanced in the world. They can circumvent the globe without surfacing, carrying a payload of dozens of cruise missiles and torpedoes.

Their sonar is so sensitive that one lurking in the Solent would be able to detect a ship leaving New York harbour 3,500 miles across the Atlantic. Advanced acoustic tiles mean they are virtually silent. They can also stay underwater indefinitely, only needing to surface if the 100-strong crew has run out of food.

The new boats are replacing the Navy's Trafalgar class submarines and the programme has been bedevilled by delays, faults and runaway costs since it began in the mid-1990s.
Naval commanders also faced embarrassment in 2010 when HMS Astute ran aground on rocks off Scotland during sea trials.

Rear Admiral Simon Lister, director of submarines at the Ministry of Defence, said the seven Astute class vessels would be the “backbone of the submarine fleet”.

He said: “They do the power projection, intelligence gathering, patrolling and have that deterrent effect.”

Three more of the 106-yard-long and 7,400 tonne submarines are currently in various stages of production in the vast BAE Systems assembly hall in Barrow-in-Furness and this week the keel was laid for Agamemnon, the sixth submarine. Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria has built 311 Royal Navy submarines since 1901.

Stuart Godden, engineering director, said the programme to build the submarines was Britain’s most complex engineering project and as difficult as a space programme.
He said: “I think it’s at least as complex as the NASA space programme.”

The submarines have no periscope, but are equipped with an array of powerful sensors which can allow them to carry out spying and eavesdropping missions. Each submarine’s electronics means it has more than 60 miles of cabling.

The Astute class is also the first where every submariner gets their own bed, rather than having to “hot bed” and sleep in shifts.

Engineers say the boats can stay underwater indefinitely, with the only limits to dives being the amount of food they carry and the morale and endurance of the crew.

Most patrols from their base in Faslane, Scotland, will be three months long.

Ricki Rotimi, leading chef on HMS Artful which is nearing completion, said his team would cook four meals a day for the entire crew.

He said: “The rubbish thing is when we start running out of fresh vegetables and fruit, but you just have to get on with it.”

The submarines became operational in the week a Liberal Democrat review of Trident concluded that Britain can maintain a credible nuclear deterrent without a like-for-like replacement of its Trident submarine fleet.

The review, led by Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander, said there are alternatives to the UK's current stance of round the clock patrols by nuclear armed submarines.

Philip Hammond, defence secretary, was scathing about the alternatives, saying they would create a “part time deterrent” and save as little as £50 million a year.

HMS Astute and HMS Ambush are the first submarines in Class accepted by Navy Command, which is responsible for operating all of the Royal Navy’s vessels.

The next three submarines in the Class: Artful, Audacious and Anson are all at varying stages of build and today’s keel laying for Agamemnon marks the next key milestone for the programme.

BAE Systems Maritime Submarines (BAES (MS)) is responsible for delivering all seven Astute Class submarines and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard class, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

The MoD has agreed a new contract with BAES (MS) that will not only help to sustain the thousands of highly skilled defence jobs based at Barrow-in-Furness but drive down the costs of building future submarines.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne today signed a new contract will deliver £380M of savings over the next eight years.

This will ensure that the Royal Navy’s submarine capability is delivered efficiently and provides good value for money for the taxpayer.

Minister Dunne, said:

“The keel laying of the sixth submarine, Agamemnon, and the handover of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush to the Royal Navy are huge milestones reflecting significant progress in the programme.

“By ensuring the UK’s submarine programme remains affordable, this new contract will help deliver the Astute Class and pave the way for the future Successor nuclear deterrent submarines and secure around 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems and thousands more who work in over 400 suppliers across the UK submarine supply chain.”

Rear Admiral Simon Lister, the MoD’s Director of Submarines, said:

“This is the sixth submarine in the Astute Class and we expect her to be built more quickly and efficiently than her predecessors, demonstrating the effectiveness of the national submarine building capability in Barrow-in-Furness.

“New techniques by skilled staff in the back office and on the shop floor will deliver this key capability for the Royal Navy."

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  • *Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent 5:39PM BST 19 Jul 2013
    *Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
    *Photograph: IPF (International Pool of Friends) + DTN News / otherwise source stated
    *This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

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