When construction is complete, the class will comprise seven Astute submarines – each one packed with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology. They are:
• HMS Astute
• Boats 6 & 7 (yet to be officially named)
• Each Astute submarine is 97m long - greater than the length of 10 London buses.
• When fully stored they will displace 7,400 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
• Advanced nuclear technology means they never need to be refuelled. The submarines will be fuelled by a nuclear reactor powerful enough to power a city the size of Southampton.
• They can circumnavigate the world without surfacing and the dived endurance is only limited by the amount of food that can be carried and the endurance of the crew.
• Each submarine manufactures its own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.
• The Astute class is the first Royal Navy submarine not to be fitted with optical periscopes – instead the vessel employs high specification video technology. The images are delivered into the submarine via fibre-optic cables.
• Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, they are able to strike at targets up to 1,000km from the coast with pinpoint accuracy – equivalent to driving from London to Paris and back twice.
• Around 110 km of cabling and pipe work will be installed on each submarine – equivalent to driving from Bristol to Oxford.