Being part of the team that helped the submarine Audacious enter the water in Barrow for the first time last Friday made me immensely proud, particularly in my role as the submarine's Commanding Officer.
The launch is a key milestone in the Astute programme and an important moment for the Royal Navy and for the crew of Audacious. It is at this stage that the submarine starts to become a real entity that the crew can feel involved with.
Working alongside the BAE Systems team, my crew helped to manoeuvre Audacious safely from its assembly point in the Devonshire Dock Hall, onto the shiplift and into the sea for the very first time. The crew had full control of the submarine's systems used to keep it afloat and remained on-board throughout because, as qualified submariners, they are crucial for ensuring the vessel's watertight integrity.
Once the submarine was in the water, my role was to offer support and advice to the pilot of the tug boat, who had the important job of guiding Audacious into the wet dock quay where she will now stay while her test and commissioning phase takes place.
The close relationship between BAE Systems and the Royal Navy is key to driving a successful build programme and delivering a highly capable submarine into Service. I am looking forward to seeing Audacious' impressive capabilities tested over the coming months and I am proud to be part of the development and delivery of the nation’s newest submarine.
The Astute class are amongst the most technologically advanced and highly capable submarines in the world and each new submarine is a welcome addition to the Royal Navy. Having commanded Artful out of her build stage I look forward to using my experience in support of Audacious’ development as she moves towards her exit from Barrow and into Naval Service.