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Royal Navy commissions new Astute-class attack submarine

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HMS Artful. A UK MoD photo

HM NAVAL BASE CLYDE (BNS): The British Royal Navy has commissioned the third Astute-class attack submarine HMS Artful during an official ceremony at the Clyde naval base last week.

The vessel was commissioned on March 18 in the presence of Adm. George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord and head of the Naval Service, his wife and representatives of the companies involved in Artful's construction, the UK defence ministry said.

HMS Artful was handed over to the Royal Navy by BAE Systems in December 2015 following which it was undergoing sea trials to prove its systems and equipment at sea.

Artful is the first of the Royal Navy's submarines to be fitted with the Common Combat System (CCS), which is regarded as the digital 'brain' of the boat controlling its 'eyes', 'ears' and 'nervous system', the Defence Ministry said.

The first operational deployment of HMS Artful is slated for 2017.

Two other ships of the class, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, have successfully conducted operational deployments. Both have deployed to the Mediterranean, and Middle East where they have been involved in anti-smuggling and security operations and have provided Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.

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.

BAE Systems has been contracted to build seven submarines in the class.

The next two submarines in the class, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow, with Agamemnon and the unnamed Boat 7 to follow.

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