Navy's new submarine HMS Audacious hits the Med on first Nato mission
Watch out Vlad! Royal Navy’s newest £1.6billion submarine HMS Audacious equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Spearfish torpedoes and 18,000 sausages hits the Med on first Nato mission
- HMS Audacious is most advanced and powerful nuclear attack submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy
- Submarine was commissioned in September last year before undergoing two months of intensive sea training
- It sailed to Gibraltar in January to be loaded with an arsenal of Tomahawk missiles before heading to the Med
- Ultra-advanced warship carried out security operations and training with Greek, Turkish and US naval forces
The Royal Navy’s newest £1.6billion submarine HMS Audacious, equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Spearfish torpedoes and 18,000 sausages, has travelled to the Mediterranean for its first Nato mission.
Audacious, among the most advanced and powerful nuclear attack submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy, is the fourth of seven new Astute-class subs with its sisters HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful.
The submarine was commissioned in September 2021 before undergoing two months of intensive sea training around its naval base in Clyde, Scotland, designed to test its equipment and sailors ‘to the limit’.
Audacious left UK waters to head south in January, first sailing to Gibraltar to be loaded with Tomahawk missiles before joining its sister subs and spending months in the depths of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
The ultra-advanced warship carried out security operations and training with Greek, Turkish and US naval forces.
The training exercises ‘tested Audacious’ ability to evade, track and engage her foes underwater and on the surface’.
The Royal Navy’s newest and most advanced nuclear attack submarine HMS Audacious has carried out Nato security patrols in the Mediterranean
HMS Audacious left UK waters from its Scotland base to head south in January, first sailing to Gibraltar to be loaded with Tomahawk missiles
From Gibraltar, Audacious then travelled to the Mediterannean to join its sister subs and spend months carrying out training and security operations with Nato allies Greece, Turkey and the US
The state-of-the-art submarine weighs 7,400 tonnes, the equivalent of 65 blue whales, is longer than 10 double-decker buses and can hold enough food on board to remain at sea with a crew of 98 people for three months
HMS Audacious has been built to include 39,000 state-of-the-art anti-acoustic tiles. The rubber tiles work by breaking up sound waves that bounce against the hull – the metal on the exterior of the submarine – to dramatically reduce noise levels.
The design includes spearfish heavy torpedoes and 38 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the submarine’s arsenal.
HMS Audacious includes nuclear reactors that boast a 25-year lifespan. It allows the crew to create air and water, reducing the need to return to the surface.
State-of-the-art sonar systems on board allows HMS Audacious to detect other ships from 3,000 nautical miles away – that’s the distance between New York and the English Channel.
Two masts carry low-light and thermal imaging cameras to provide a 360-degree image to the submarine captain three seconds after being activated.
They also offered Nato allies the opportunity to carry out rare training against a nuclear attack submarine, which included attempting to hunt Audacious beneath the waves.
Commander Jim Howard, the warship’s commanding officer, said: ‘These exercises helped HMS Audacious to demonstrate her prowess as the newest, most capable SSN that the UK has to offer while also strengthening Nato capability and interoperability and demonstrating our resolve towards Nato Missions.’
Audacious followed the training exercises by carrying out a period of Nato operations to provide security to the region.
The Royal Navy has said the submarine has ‘set a new standard in weapons load and stealth’.
Around 39,000 state-of-the-art anti-acoustic tiles make the colossal 320ft, 7,400 tonne sub move through the water without making any more noise than a baby dolphin.
On board nuclear reactors with a 25 year life create air and water, meaning the warship can circumnavigate the globe without needing to resurface.
As it is nuclear powered, the submarine has unlimited endurance, but is limited to 90 days based on food capacity. This includes 18,000 sausages and 4,200 Weetabix biscuits.
The sonar system on Astute-class subs enable them to detect ships from 3,000 nautical miles away, which is the distance between the English Channel and New York
Before its journey to the Med, Audacious carried out intensive training off the coast of Scotland, during which its crew underwent a series of mock crises on board, including fires and floods, to ensure they are ready to ‘work together and respond calmly in a real emergency’.
Final trials were also completed in which its systems were thoroughly tested to ensure they can stand up to the ‘stresses and strains of extended operations’.
The Astute-class submarines are said to be capable of circumnavigating the globe while submerged and produce their own oxygen to sustain the crews on lengthy deployments.
HMS Audacious, described as the ‘most capable’ submarine ever built for the Royal Navy, pictured during its first outing in April 2020
The submarine uses around 39,000 state-of-the-art anti-acoustic tiles to ensure it makes no more noise than a baby dolphin
The £1.6billion nuclear-powered ship is armed with an arsenal of both spearfish heavy torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles for attack
A short voyage from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, where the submarine was built by BAE Systems saw HMS Audacious return to the surface soon after at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, which is the home of the UK’s Submarine Service
The training exercises ‘tested Audacious’ ability to evade, track and engage her foes underwater and on the surface’, the Royal Navy said
HMS Audacious is one of Astute-class submarines and becomes the fourth in service, with the final three still in construction
The training exercises offered Nato allies the opportunity to carry out rare training against a nuclear attack submarine, which included attempting to hunt Audacious beneath the waves
Audacious’ maiden deployment also marked the completion of qualifications for many of its crew, which sees them learn the location and function of hundreds of valves aboard and ‘earn their dolphins’ to become fully fledged submariners.
It was joined by HMS Ambush, which recently carried out its own deployment to the Arctic to carry out a number of missions including sub-surface stealth raids with Royal Marines Commandos.
The two submarines went head-to-head in underwater battles involving a range of warfare scenarios and training together.
Audacious was officially named during a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Cumbria, back in December 2017.
Lady Jones, Audacious’ sponsor and wife of Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, chose the name.
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