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UK Astute Submarine Takes First Underwater Tests

Astute submarine takes first underwater tests

The Royal Navy's newest and most advanced nuclear submarine, ASTUTE, is taking her first dive for an underwater test of her systems.

ASTUTE is the first nuclear submarine to be launched in the UK for almost a decade

The 'Trim and Basin Dive' is taking place in Devonshire Dock, Barrow, over two days, and involves submerging ASTUTE in a dive hole large enough for the 100M-long, 7400 tonne boat. The dive is the first time that the submarine has been fully submerged, and provides the opportunity to test the submarine's underwater stability and systems.

25 of her crew are on board alongside BAE Systems technicians to carry out the tests. Tests include trials of various boat systems and equipment including the mechanism that releases an emergency buoy, the emergency escape tower, and various hydraulics and electrical systems.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, said:

"This is an important step on the road to preparing ASTUTE for service. These submarines are hugely impressive vessels, and will provide the Royal Navy with a world class capability."

After completing the dive, ASTUTE will be docked and taken back into Devonshire Dock Hall. The next stage will be to calculate her stability, weight and buoyancy.


1. The Trim and Basin dive takes place on 30 and 31 October.

2. ASTUTE is the first nuclear submarine to be launched in the UK for almost a decade. She has been built in the UK using the latest and most advanced naval engineering techniques. Construction has been described as more complex than that of the space shuttle.

3. ASTUTE was named on 8 June by HRH Duchess of Cornwall at the roll-out ceremony at BAE Systems' shipyard in Barrow, Cumbria.

4. ASTUTE will never need to be refuelled: her advanced on-board life support systems mean she can circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface.

5. ASTUTE is the first vessel of four in the Astute class currently under build and commissioning at Barrow. The other three are AMBUSH, ARTFUL and AUDACIOUS.

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