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BAE unveils new Astute-class submarine for UK Navy

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The new Astute-class submarine, Artful. A BAE Systems photo

LONDON (BNS): BAE Systems has unveiled Artful -- the third state-of-the-art Astute-class nuclear attack submarine for the British Royal Navy last week.

The 7,400 tonne, 97 metre long attack submarine was officially named during an event to mark the end of its build process.

The ceremony was performed by Amanda Lady Zambellas, wife of the Royal Navy's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, inside BAE Systems' giant Devonshire Dock Hall (DDH) submarine construction facility on Sept 20.

Artful will remain in the DDH to complete a series of commissioning activities, before being launched in early 2014 for further test and commissioning, BAE announced.

The Astute-class submarines are being built to replace the Swiftsure and Trafalgar class submarines of the Royal Navy. The new-generation 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 20 knots while submerged.

BAE Systems has been contracted to build seven submarines in the class. Two of the subs -- HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, have been commissioned into the Navy.

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