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UK: Royal Navy officially names 6th Astute class submarine HMS Agamemnon.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the UK MoD on April 23, 2024, the naming ceremony of HMS Agamemnon, the sixth Astute-class submarine, took place in Barrow-in-Furness, attended by Defence Minister J. Cartlidge.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Naming ceremony of the sixth Astute class submarine HMS Agamemnon. (Picture source: UK MoD)

The Astute class submarines are the latest nuclear-powered attack submarines operated by the Royal Navy, designed to replace the older Trafalgar class. These submarines are constructed by BAE Systems at their shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. The class includes seven submarines: HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, HMS Audacious, HMS Anson, HMS Agamemnon, and HMS Agincourt.

Technically, the Astute class represents a significant advancement over previous submarine designs. They are the first Royal Navy submarines not equipped with traditional periscopes but use high-specification video technology instead.

They are renowned for their stealth, being described as the quietest submarines ever built by the Royal Navy, capable of circumnavigating the globe completely submerged. They can also produce their own oxygen and drinking water, making them extremely self-sufficient.

The submarines are armed with Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes, allowing them to engage targets up to 1,000 miles away with high precision. The Astute class can carry a total of 36 missiles and torpedoes. These vessels use advanced sonar technology, the Sonar 2076, which includes an integrated passive/active search and attack sonar system with hull and towed arrays.

The construction of the Astute class faced numerous challenges, including significant delays and cost overruns primarily due to complexities in their design and the adaptation of new manufacturing techniques like 3D CAD.

The first submarine, HMS Astute, was laid down in 2001 and commissioned in 2010 after a series of setbacks that required adjustments in project management and construction methodologies.

Crew life on these submarines is rigorous, with deployments varying in length and overall assignments lasting three years. Two full crews rotate shifts, enabling the vessels to remain at sea for extended periods. The internal living quarters are compact, with limited personal space to maximize operational capabilities and onboard systems management.

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