UK Navy's Astute, Dauntless vessels begin sea trials
he British Royal Navy's two most advanced naval vessels Ė nuclear attack submarine Astute and Type 45 guided missile destroyer Dauntless Ė entered the waters of Clyde for sea trials last week.
The Astute-class submarines, designed to replace the Swiftsure and Trafalgar class submarines of the Royal Navy, are larger in size and require fewer crew to operate them. With a water displacement capacity of 7,400 tonnes, the sub incorporates advanced stealth technology along with world class sonar system, greater firepower and latest communication systems.
Astute is 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.
The submarine arrived at her operational base of Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde from BAE Systemsí Barrow yard in November 2009 and is currently undergoing sea trials ahead of her acceptance into service, the Royal Navy said.
Dauntless, which is the second of the Royal Navyís Type 45 anti-warfare destroyers, was handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence by BAE Systems in December 2009 and will be commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet later this year.
The Type-45 class guided missile destroyers have been designed primarily to defend a task force from aerial attacks. Besides, they can also carry out an array of roles like humanitarian relief and also intense war fighting.
UK MoD approves construction of 5th and 6th Astute Submarine
UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved for the continuation of Astute programme. BAE system will now begin the construction of fifth Astute submarine and the procurement process for a sixth vessel.
The first of class Astute submarine successfully completed its first phase of sea trials having left Barrow for its operational base in Faslane in November 2009. The second (Ambush) is due to be launched later this year, and the third and fourth (Artful and Audacious) are both advanced in their construction.
“The Government has made a contractual commitment to proceed with the initial build of Astute Boat 5 and long lead procurement activities associated with Astute Boat 6, at a total cost of over £300M. This commitment is necessary now to ensure a consistent workload for the UK’s submarine building industry,” the Secretary of State, Bob Ainsworth, said in an official press release.
“This investment will allow the timely delivery of the Astute class boats, which are the most advanced attack submarines ever ordered for the Royal Navy. Furthermore, since the same industrial skills, experience and capability are necessary to deliver the successor deterrent submarine programme, this investment will play a part in ensuring a smooth transition from the Astute programme to the successor deterrent,” he added.
The 7,400 tonne submarines (fifth and sixth) is expected to be the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever built in Britain for the Royal Navy.
The Astute class will replace the Swiftsure and Trafalgar class, which have been in-service since the 1970s and 1980s respectively.
Work is expected to start immediately at the shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.
Test and commissioning of second in class Ambush continues ahead of its scheduled launch later this year. The command deck module – the largest of the boat’s modules - has been shipped into third in class Artful, successfully completing one of the boat’s 2010 milestones. Construction of major steelwork for fourth in class Audacious continues after its keel was laid in 2009.
04 May 2010 Rolls-Royce "The Magazine" Mar 2010/Photos BAE Systems: The British Royal Navy‚Äôs largest and most powerful attack submarine has commenced sea trials and is soon set to enter service heralding a new age in naval capability. At 97 metres long and displacing 7,400 tonnes submerged, Astute is designed to be the quietest and most stealthy submarine of her type, packed with an impressive range of kit including advanced secure communications capabilities and optimal detection avoidance characteristics.
Astute can carry more torpedoes and tube launched missiles than any previous class of Royal Navy submarine ‚Äď nuclear or conventionally powered. Its Tomahawk missiles can strike at targets up to 1,000 kilometres from the coast with pinpoint accuracy.
Thanks to its Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor, Astute can circumnavigate the globe, underwater, and will never need to refuel during its planned 25 year life. Its dived endurance is limited only by the amount of food that can be carried and the endurance of the crew.
Full acceptance by the Royal Navy is due soon, when Astute will be handed over by its builders, BAE Systems. Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope said: ‚ÄėThe Astute class is truly next generation. ‚ÄėThey are immensely powerful vessels and they will form a key part of our future programme, giving the Royal Navy the versatility and technical excellence needed to operate successfully across the globe,‚Äô he added.
Like many surface ships and submarines before her, Astute made a momentous departure from Barrow-in-Furness late last year, witnessed by thousands of employees, local residents and VIPs. Intensive First of her class, Astute initially headed for what will be her home base ‚Äď Her Majesty‚Äôs Naval Base Clyde, in Scotland, prior to the start of an intensive sea trial programme which will put ‚ÄėBoat 1‚Äô through its paces.
Since the contract to build the Astute class was awarded in 1997, prime contractor BAE Systems and its supply chain, which includes Rolls-Royce, has overcome many engineering challenges to deliver what is the world‚Äôs most sophisticated attack submarine. The Astute class will exceed the capabilities of the Trafalgar and Swiftsure classes it will supersede ‚Äď the design and construction has been described as more complex than the space shuttle.
The Barrow-in-Furness shipyard, now owned and managed by BAE Systems, has a long history of expertise in the design and construction of submarines. Every first-of-class submarine built for the Royal Navy since World War II, has been launched from the shipyard. From the first ‚Äėsteel cut‚Äô in 1999, when the keel was laid at Barrow, to its maiden voyage, construction of Astute was an enormous task.
Barrow‚Äôs Devonshire Dock Hall is the largest shipbuilding construction complex of its kind in Europe, covering an area of 25,000m. At 51m, the height of the hall was determined by the need for overhead cranes to clear the raised masts of submarines during build.
Astute is one of the first nuclear submarines to be designed entirely in a three dimensional computer aided environment ‚Äď a step change from the principle that performance should be optimised by designing the smallest boat possible with little regard to cost.
The modular build of the Astute class sees huge steel cylinders carefully welded together to reveal the familiar submarine shape. Underwater, the hull is designed to resist the equivalent pressure of 400 family saloon cars piled one on top of the other, on every square metre of its surface.
Construction complete, Astute was inched out of the cavernous surroundings of Devonshire Dock Hall for launching. Unlike launches of the past, modern submarine construction means that Astute was lowered into the adjacent dock by a Rolls-Royce shiplift system capable of lifting vessels up to 23,400 tonnes ‚Äď when built it was the largest shiplift in the world.
For more than 50 years, Rolls-Royce has supplied nuclear steam raising plant to the Royal Navy. Astute is powered by the latest development of the PWR2 ‚Äď Pressurised Water Reactor, a development of the reactor design used in the Vanguard class ballistic submarines.
Bruce Bandeen, Rolls-Royce Astute Project Director hailed the commencement of sea trials as a ‚Äėmassive achievement‚Äô for those involved. He said: ‚ÄėReaching the ‚ÄúExit Barrow‚ÄĚ milestone was a proud moment for all. Astute is the most complex engineering project on the planet, and has one of the highest performing reactors we‚Äôve ever built. It met all expectations during the testing programme and was quite simply designed to perfection.‚Äô
Rolls-Royce has a team based permanently at Barrow to oversee the installation and testing of the reactor system in partnership with the BAE Systems personnel responsible for building and commissioning the reactor system. Key tasks include the filling of the primary circuit and the first hot and cold operation of the reactor. Core loading, followed by further operational tests precede a major milestone, the Power Range Testing.
The test, in Bruce Bandeen‚Äôs words, was: ‚ÄėCarried out with the boat fully crewed, as if it was at sea ‚Äď it behaved perfectly.‚Äô During Power Range Testing the reactor system is operating at 100 per cent temperature and under full operating pressure. There is no drive at this stage as the sub‚Äôs propulsor is disengaged. Finally, prior to departing Barrow, Astute was put through a phase known as ‚Äėfast cruise‚Äô. This is a programme of pre-sea trials, training and familiarisation for the crew.
Innovative Astute has been a major project for Rolls-Royce. The work included the design and manufacture of reactor cores, high pressure vessels and the innovative propulsor. The company‚Äôs scope of supply also includes Astute‚Äôs turbogenerator, flexible couplings and thrust block and Rolls-Royce low voltage electrical systems distribute power throughout the submarine.
The next three boats (Ambush, Artful and Audacious) are currently under construction at Barrow, and Rolls-Royce continues to work with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), BAE Systems and other parties to ensure they continue to deliver affordable and capable submarines into the future.
The close relationship between the MOD and Rolls-Royce extends to the provision of round the clock in-service support for the existing submarine flotilla, including the Astute class boats as they enter service. Two years ago the company signed a landmark contract with the MOD which will bring major cost savings in submarine operation and maintenance.
Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Director Submarines, Rear Admiral Simon Lister, described Astute as: ‚ÄėA quantum leap in capability from the Trafalgar class.‚Äô She is designed to fulfil a range of key strategic and tactical roles including anti-ship and anti-submarine operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering and support for land forces.
Astute has been a complex engineering challenge, which has brought together specialist engineers working across a vast range of disciplines. The result is one of the world‚Äôs most versatile submarines, designed to perform multiple deployments, from solo patrols to joint maritime operations, hundreds of metres below the surface. Author: Craig Taylor is part of the Rolls-Royce communications team in Derby. He has previously worked in communications roles in the nuclear power and public transport industries.
Life on board a nuclear submarine is typically three times more densely packed with machinery and equipment than a surface ship, so there are great demands on space. In a welcome change from earlier subs, each of the 98-strong crew has his own bunk, eliminating the need for ‚Äėhot bunking‚Äô.
The crew is kept fed and watered 24 hours a day by a team of five Royal Navy chefs, with shift patterns ensuring everyone gets three meals a day. Working from a galley measuring just 10m x 3m the chefs can, for example, serve up 18,000 sausages and 4,200 cereal breakfasts during a ten-week patrol.
Astute can manufacture its own oxygen from seawater and can purify the on-board atmosphere by removing and disposing of waste carbon dioxide, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is also the first Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes ‚Äď a range of equipment including thermal imaging cameras and low light video will enable her crew to capture, share and analyse surface images.
THIS is Britain‚Äôs most advanced submarine vanishing beneath the waves as she conducts her first deep dive.
Er, that‚Äôs classified too. Somewhere off the northwest coast of Scotland.
Did it work?
Yes it did. That bit‚Äôs not classified.
The ¬£1bn hunter-killer submarine followed up her initial dive earlier this year in company with HMS Montrose with more extensive trials, this time observed by Montrose‚Äôs sister HMS Richmond.
The Commanding Officer of the Type 23 frigate is one Capt Mike Walliker‚Ä¶ the first Commanding Officer of HMS Astute.
He oversaw the latter stages of Astute‚Äôs build in Barrow, but never got to take her to sea. So he‚Äôs understandably taken a close interest in the submarine‚Äôs trials.
‚ÄúAs her first Commanding Officer I am delighted to have been able to play a part in that process and to have witnessed her performing so well in her natural environment,‚ÄĚ he says.
‚ÄúThese trials have been an historic milestone in the process that will deliver an incredibly capable submarine to the Royal Navy.‚ÄĚ
Three days of deep dives were conducted by Astute with Richmond on hand to help should anything untoward happen (it didn‚Äôt).
More than that, the frigate served as a ‚Äėcompliant target‚Äô for Astute (although as any submariner will tell you, everything on the surface is a potential target‚Ä¶) as the boat tested her sonar suite and comms kit.
Richmond has recently come through Operation Sea Training off Plymouth and will shortly be heading for Cardiff to take part in 150th anniversary events celebrating Cadet forces between May 11 and 17, including opening her gangway to visitors on Sunday May 16.