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BAE awarded contract for sixth Astute class attack submarine

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The Astute class attack submarine. A BAE Systems photo

LONDON (BNS): UK's Defence Ministry has awarded a £1.4 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) contract to BAE Systems to deliver the next Astute class attack submarine to the Royal Navy.

The new underwater platform "Agamemnon" will be the sixth of seven nuclear-powered attack submarines designed and manufactured at BAE's facility at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, the company announced on April 19.

Will Blamey, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said, "Securing the contract for the sixth Astute class submarine is a significant milestone for BAE Systems and the result of many years of hard work by our highly skilled workforce.

"The Astute class submarines are amongst the most highly capable and technologically advanced in the world and we're immensely proud to build them for the Royal Navy."

UK's Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said, "This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines. These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world."

The first three Astute class submarines – HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful – are currently in service with the Royal Navy with a further four in various stages of construction at the Barrow site.

The Astute class submarines incorporate advanced stealth technology along with world class sonar system, greater firepower and latest communication systems.

The underwater vessels are designed to carry out a range of key strategic and tactical roles, including anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering and support for land forces.

Each sub can carry a mix of up to 38 Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, and can target enemy submarines, surface ships and land targets with pinpoint accuracy. The submarine can cruise at speeds in excess of 20 knots while submerged.

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