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BAE launches fourth Astute class submarine for Royal Navy

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The fourth Astute class submarine "Audacious" being launched. A BAE Systems photo

LONDON (BNS): BAE Systems has launched the fourth Astute-class attack submarine "Audacious" for the British Royal Navy at its Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria facility on April 28.

Audacious is the fourth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy.

The 97-metre long, 7,400 tonne nuclear powered submarine emerged from the BAE facility's Devonshire Dock Hall on April 27 and the following day, it was lowered into the dock water for the first time to begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme ahead of leaving Barrow for sea trials next year.

The submarine was officially named "Audacious" at a ceremony in December 2016.

Will Blamey, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: "Today's launch marks an important milestone in the Astute programme and demonstrates our pride in building submarines for the Royal Navy."

"Audacious enters the water in a more advanced state of build than any previous Astute class submarine, which puts us in a good position for the next phase of work - the testing and commissioning of her complex systems," the official remarked.

Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, the Astute class submarines are the most highly-capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.

They can strike at targets up to 1,000km from the coast with pin-point accuracy, are equipped with a world-leading sonar capability and powered by a nuclear reactor.

The first three submarines of the class, HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful, have been inducted in the Royal Navy while the remaining vessels of the class are at various stages of construction at BAE's Barrow site.

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