It carries a lethal sting … and it just hit the water for the first time.
A 97-metre sea monster, with no conscience.
The HMS Anson, a nuclear powered Astute-class submarine, is equipped with world-leading sensors and carries both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.
Weighing in at 7,400-tonnes, it can circumnavigate the globe submerged, and, produce its own oxygen and drinking water.
Like all Royal Navy submarines, the bridge fin of the Astute-class boats is specially reinforced to allow surfacing through ice caps, and it is powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR2 (Core H) and fitted with an advanced pump-jet propulsor.
Officially named at a ceremony in December, the Anson emerged from the Devonshire Dock Hall and entered the water for the first time on April 20, NavyRecognition.com reported.
The launch was a special moment for the Barrow shipyard, which celebrated its 150th year and a long and proud relationship with the Royal Navy.
The sub will now begin the next phase of its test and commissioning program, before leaving Barrow for sea trials with the Royal Navy next year.
The last HMS Anson, which operated from 1942-51 was a King George V-class battleship, which saw active service in World War Two, BAE Systems said.
The Astute class is the latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines (SSNs) in service with the Royal Navy, setting a new standard in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth.
Measuring 97 metres in length, it boasts the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.
The PWR2 reactor was developed for the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines and has a 25-year lifespan without the need for refuelling.
More than 39,000 acoustic tiles also mask the vessel’s sonar signature, giving the Astute class improved acoustic qualities.
The Tomahawk Block IV missiles were converted and upgraded to Block V in 2017. The upgraded Tomahawk includes extended range, enhanced navigation and communication systems and modernised data-link radio.
The missile carries a nuclear or conventional payload. It can be armed with a nuclear or unitary warhead or a conventional submunitions dispenser with combined-effect bomblets.
The first four submarines in the class, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, have been handed over to the Royal Navy, with a further two boats (to be named Agamemnon and Agincourt) currently under construction at our Barrow site.
Steve Timms, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Submarines business, said: “The launch marks an important milestone in the Astute program and seeing Anson enter the water at such an advanced state is a tangible demonstration of everyone’s hard work over the years.
“Designing and building nuclear-powered submarines is a national endeavour and days like this bring a huge sense of pride for our workforce, our partners in the submarine enterprise and our UK supply chain, not to mention our communities.
“We now look forward to a successful test and commissioning phase and working alongside Anson’s crew to prepare the submarine for operations with the Royal Navy.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence announced that a UK Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (HMSQE) will be accompanied by an Astute-class submarine on its 28-week deployment featuring visits to India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.
The MoD said the Carrier Strike Group will also “provide support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian and maritime security operations in the Black Sea.”
It comes amid growing tensions in the Black Sea region — with the UK and other G7 nations demanding that Russia ‘ends provocations and de-escalates tensions’ in Ukraine.
Now, the MoD has confirmed — HMSQE will be accompanied by an Astute-class submarine fully armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The MoD statement said:
“HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, will next month set sail as the flagship of a Carrier Strike Group.
“Joining her will be a surface fleet of Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.
“On a 28-week deployment spanning 26,000 nautical miles, the Carrier Strike Group will conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region.
“Units from the Carrier Strike Group are expected to visit more than 40 countries and undertake over 70 engagements.
“Deep below the surface, a Royal Navy Astute-class submarine will be deployed in support, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
“Providing a cutting edge on the carrier’s flight deck will be eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets.
Alongside will be four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters – the greatest quantity of helicopters assigned to a single UK Task Group in a decade.
Along with the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, the Astutes represent the core of the Royal Navy’s offensive capabilities, with each one costing well north of US $1 billion dollars.
With the emergence of new tensions between NATO and Russia, they have regained the old antisubmarine mission, especially as Russian maritime interest has focused on rebuilding and recapitalizing the submarine fleet.
The class remains among the most formidable submarines in the world, and certainly pose a major threat to any Russian designs on the North Atlantic or the Arctic.
Put it this way, the Russians had better take them seriously — anyone who doesn’t, would be a fool.
Sources: NavyRecognition.com, PlymouthLive, TheManufacturer.com, BBC News, Yahoo News, Naval Technology