Prospective commanding officer Commander Bower said: “I am immensely proud and honoured to be leading the crew of Artful. Her capabilities are extraordinary and represent the next step in our country’s century-long history of operating submarines.”
Tony Johns, Managing Director, BAE Systems Submarines said: “Seeing Artful exit from Barrow today is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from everyone at BAE Systems, our partners and the hundreds of businesses in our supply chain network.
“BAE Systems in Barrow is a world class facility, designing and building submarines that are some of the most sophisticated engineering projects in the world. Everyone involved in the Astute programme should feel immensely proud of their achievements as the third in class Astute submarine reaches this significant milestone.”
The design and build of the Astute class is a highly complex engineering feat. The 7,400-tonne attack submarines measure 97 metres and are powered by nuclear reactors. Each submarine is armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles.
Artful is the third Astute class submarine to have been built by BAE Systems. Seven of the class have been commissioned in total and the remaining four boats are currently under construction.
Commander Bower said: “The crew, alongside the workers at BAE Systems have done a sterling job in generating more than a million parts into a submarine. Artful will be home to more than 100 men, and can spend months at a time submerged. She is able to generate her own air and water; food will be her only limiting factor.
“Having left Barrow, a period of trials begins to put the submarine through her paces, proving all of her systems before she officially becomes part of the Royal Navy’s fleet.”
Artful will follow her sister submarines to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland.