UK’s Fifth Astute-Class Submarine Completes First Practice Dive

The British Royal Navy’s fifth Astute-class nuclear submarine, the Anson, has completed its initial “trim dive” at Devonshire Dock in the UK.

As part of the test, the vessel was completely submerged while onboard systems checked the ship’s stability and safety.

The trim dive was undertaken to allow experts and engineers to assess the submarine’s center of gravity, precise weight, and take other critical measurements.

“The trim and basin dive is a key step in the commissioning of HMS Anson,” Anson commanding officer commander David “Bing” Crosby said in a statement. “This period will enable us to set the boat’s internal weight, prove her water-tight integrity, test sensors and put some of our systems through their tests ahead of sailing for the first time.” 

The vessel, 97 meters long (318 feet) and weighing 400 tons, was christened in December 2020 and launched last year.

Fifth Submarine in Astute Class

BAE Systems is building a total of seven Astute-class boats to replace the British Navy’s five Swiftsure Class submarines. Launched in the 1970s, the vessels are approaching the end of their operational life.

The company has already finished the first four submarines — HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, and HMS Audacious — which are already in service. Apart from the Anson, it is working on two other subs, the Agamemnon and the Agincourt.

BAE Systems will also deliver Dreadnought submarines to replace the Astute class in the future. The project is in the preliminary phases, as the company is currently working on the initial concept design.

UK’s Largest Attack Vessel

Astute-class submarines are the largest and most advanced attack vessels ever in the UK. They can strike targets up to 1,000 kilometers (621.37 miles) away and circumnavigate the globe submerged.

The craft produce their own oxygen and potable water and feature advanced nuclear technology, so they never need refueling.

Equipped with advanced sensors, the class of submarines is among the quietest vessels ever made. It is also the first UK submarine not to be fitted with an optical periscope, instead using high specification video technology.

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