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World’s most advanced attack submarine joins British fleet

HMS Anson is £1.3bn of both naval stealth and striking power say the Royal Navy – able to gather vital intelligence, protect other Royal Navy vessels from threats above and below the waves and destroy enemy military infrastructure with pinpoint accuracy.

The latest Astute class submarine to be built by BAE Systems, HMS Anson, was officially commissioned into the Royal Navy during a ceremony at BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, today.

It has taken more than 11 years – and some 20 million hours’ work by an estimated 10,000 people from 400 firms and organisations across the UK – for the 7,800-tonne boat to be ready for action. At 97 metres long and with a displacement of 7,800 tonnes, the nuclear-powered submarine is the fifth of seven in the Astute class. The Astute submarines are recognised as the most technologically advanced attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.

The traditional naval ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries, including the submarine’s Lady Sponsor, Mrs Julie Weale, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and the UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, who said:

“Today is a significant milestone in the UK and Australia’s preparation to confront growing threats to the liberal democratic order, especially in the Indo Pacific. Not only have we progressed our defence planning but Minister Marles participated in the commissioning of our latest attack submarine, on which Royal Australian Navy submariners will be embarked as we develop our shared capabilities in the years ahead.

Built in a UK shipyard, HMS Anson demonstrates the very best of British industry, sustaining our world-leading sub-surface capabilities and underlining the UK’s readiness to contribute them to shared security, especially with our closest allies Australia and the United States under the AUKUS initiative.”

BAE Systems Chief Executive, Charles Woodburn, said:

“The Astute class submarines are among the finest engineering accomplishments in the world. As the custodian of the UK’s submarine design and build capability, we’re incredibly proud of the role we play in the delivery of this strategic national endeavour.”

The boat’s first Commanding Officer, Commander David Crosby, said that given the effort, skill and enterprise invested in constructing the submarine – made more challenging over the past two and a half years by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic – “HMS Anson would go on to be the best Astute-class submarine yet”.

“Among tough competition, that is a bold claim, but I fully believe it; she will be successful on operations for years to come and be envied by nations across the globe. The good fortune to be commanding officer of the most advanced and capable attack submarine ever built in the UK on her commissioning day is the greatest honour of my submarine career.”

BAE Systems already employs more than 10,000 people in its Submarines business – and that number is set to grow. More than 500 apprentices are due to join later this year, up from 321 in 2021, to support the delivery of these major programmes. This year, BAE Systems say they will be recruiting more than 1,000 new engineers, designers, welders, supply chain managers and many other roles across the company’s Maritime and Land sector UK businesses.