Home > Naval Forces > Astute class

Astute class

Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Astute class SSN

The first Astute class submarine is more complex engineering project than the space shuttle



Entered service 2010
Crew 98 + 12 men
Diving depth (operational) over 150 m
Diving depth (maximum) over 300 m
Sea endurance 90 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 97 m
Beam 10.7 m
Draught 10 m
Surfaced displacement 6 500 tons
Submerged displacement 7 200 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed ?
Submerged speed 29 knots
Nuclear reactors 2 x Rolls-Royce PWR2
Steam turbines 1 x ?
Armament
Missiles Tomahawk cruise missiles; Harpoon anti-ship missiles in place of torpedoes
Torpedoes 6 x 533-mm bow tubes for 36 Spearfish torpedoes
Other mines in place of torpedoes

 

   Ordered by the Ministry of Defense for service with the Royal Navy, the Astute class boat is an SSN (nuclear-powered attack submarine). It is of the type designed to replace the service's Swiftsure class nuclear-powered attack submarines laid down in 1970-1977 and commissioned in 1974-1981, and therefore nearing the end of their operational lives. The Ministry of Defense issued invitations to tender in July 1994 for the construction of an initial three submarines with an option of a further two, and December 1995 GEC-Marconi (now BAE Systems Marine) was selected as the prime contractor. The initial order was for a first tranche of three submarines, as fixed in the original invitation to tender, but the Ministry of Defense later announced that it was planning a follow-on order for another three rather than just two submarines. The contract decision for the second tranche was expected in 2004, for the commissioning of the resulted submarines in 2012-2014. Currently a total of 7 Astute class boats are planned.

   The performance specification for the Astute class submarines is essentially a development of that which characterizes the Trafalgar Batch 1 class boats operated by the 2nd Submarine Squadron from the Royal Navy's base at Devonport. The design requirements included a 50 percent increase in weapons load and a significant reduction in radiated noise levels. The design matured into what was in effect a development of the fully modernized Trafalgar class submarine with a longer fin and two Thales (originally Pilkington Optronics) CM010 optronic periscopes whose masts do not penetrate the hull.

   The Astute Batch 1 class submarines are to be named HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful, and were scheduled to enter service in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively, however the project was dragging behind the schedule. The electronic core of the submarines' capabilities is the ACMS (Astute Combat Management System) developed by Alenia Marconi Systems as an improved version of the SMCS (Submarine Command System) in service with all current classes of British submarines. The ACMS receives data from the sonars and other sensors and, employing advanced algorithms and data handling, displays real-time images on the command consoles. Factory acceptance of the operational software was received in July 2002. Tied into the ACMS is the WHLS (Weapon Handling and Launch System) created by Strachan and Henshaw.

   The Astute class submarines have six 533-mm torpedo tubes. Their primary shorter-range weapons system are BAE Systems Spearfhish torpedoes and Boeing Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Spearfish torpedo is a wire-guided weapon with active/passive homing and a range of 65 km at 60 kts. The Sub-Harpoon is a sea-skimming missile with high subsonic cruising speed, a range of more than 130 km and active radar terminal guidance.

   Major long-range weapon systems, each carrying a high explosive rather than nuclear warhead, are the Raytheon Tomahawk Block IV land-attack cruise missiles. These missiles have a range of 1 700 km and can target enemy ships as well as land targets. The Tomahawk uses an internal navigation system with TERCOM (Terrain Counter Mapping) update for accurate long-range navigation. The Block IV missile having improvements such as upgraded propulsion, enhanced terminal guidance, and improved navigation through the installation of a GPC receiver.

   There is capacity for a total of 36 torpedoes and missiles. Alternatively mines can be carried in place of torpedoes.

   The Astute class submarines are powered by Rolls-Royce pressurized water reactor. These reactors have a service life of 25 years and are not refueled. Range and sea endurance are limited only by food supplies.

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
HMS Astute (S119) 2001 2007 2010

active, in service

HMS Ambush (S120) 2003 2011 2013

active, in service

HMS Artful (S121) 2005 2014 expected in 2015

under construction

HMS Audacious (S122) 2009 ? expected in 2018

under construction

HMS Anson (S123) 2011 ? expected in 2020

under construction

HMS Agamemnon (S124) 2013 ? expected in 2022

under construction

HMS Ajax (S125) ? ? expected in 2024

ordered

 

 

Video of the Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarine

 

 
Astute class SSN

Astute class SSN

Astute class SSN

Astute class SSN

Astute class SSN

Astute class SSN

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home  Home     Aircraft     Helicopters     Tanks     Armored Vehicles     Artillery     Trucks     Engineering Vehicles     Naval Forces     Firearms     |     Contact Us
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ARG 2006 - 2014
 www.Military-Today.com Astute class