Ambush Commander Peter Green said "Ambush is fuelled for life and is a significant step forward from the previous class of submarines. This is a hugely proud day for me and the Royal Navy."
BAE Systems staff and guests gathered in the giant Devonshire Dock Hall to see Ambush sponsor, Lady Anne Soar, the wife of Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, name the boat and release the customary bottle of champagne onto the submarine’s bow. The submarine was then blessed by shipyard Chaplain, the Reverend Sheila Hughes.
John Hudson, Managing Director of Submarine Solutions said: “Today marks a highly significant milestone for BAE Systems, all of our supply chain and community partners and especially our Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy colleagues. It has taken a huge amount of skill and effort from a large number of people, not only to design and build such a complex vessel but also to get her to the advanced state of completion that we see today. All of the hundreds of people from across the submarine enterprise who have contributed can be justifiably proud as Ambush begins the next stage of her commissioning.”
The ceremony marks the culmination of thousands of man-hours of highly skilled design, fabrication, construction, test and commissioning. It will be followed in the coming days by the submarine’s rollout onto the ship lift and lowering into Devonshire Dock, to begin the next phase of commissioning before her eventual exit from Barrow.
BAE Systems is the lead contractor of the seven-boat Astute programme and the launch of Ambush follows the formal commissioning into the Royal Navy of HMS Astute earlier this year.
The Astute class are the largest and most powerful attack submarines ever ordered by the Royal Navy, each one weighing 7,400 tonnes and packed with unrivalled capabilities. The sonar suite has the processing power of 2,000 laptops and the boats are armed with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles and Spearfish torpedoes. The boats can manufacture their own oxygen from sea water and are fuelled for life by a nuclear reactor so powerful it can power a city the size of Southampton. www.astuteclass.com
More than 200 invited guests enjoyed a reception at the Abbey House Hotel before the launch followed by a formal luncheon after the ceremony. These included guests from the Royal Navy, BAE Systems, key suppliers, local dignitaries and employees. John Hudson proposed the toast to the boat and her sponsor, and Chief of Material Fleet, Vice Admiral Andrew Mathews, proposed the toast to the builder. Lady Soar and Ambush Commanding Officer Commander Peter Green also addressed the guests.
Another 400 invited guests enjoyed lunch in the main shipyard after the ceremony. These included employees, retired submariners, and representatives from Rolls Royce, the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence Submarine Production team.
In November 2010 HM Government confirmed its intention to proceed with seven Astute Class submarines all of which will be built in Barrow-in-Furness.
• Ambush’s 97m length is more than the length of 10 London buses.
• When fully stored she will displace 7,400 tonnes of sea water, equivalent to 65 blue whales.
• Advanced nuclear technology means Ambush will never need to be refuelled. The submarine is fuelled by a nuclear reactor powerful enough to power a city the size of Southampton.
• Ambush is able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing and her dived endurance is only limited by the amount of food that can be carried and the endurance of the crew.
• Ambush can manufacture 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, Ambush can strike at targets up to 1,000 km from the coast with pinpoint accuracy – equivalent to driving from London to Paris and back twice.
• There is around 110 km of cabling and pipe work on board Ambush – equivalent to driving from Bristol to Oxford.
• Ambush’s Sonar 2076 sonar suite has the processing power of 2000 laptop computers. It has the world’s largest number of hydrophones, providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today.
• The command deck module, on which the sonar suite sits along with the other combat systems and platform control systems, was shipped into the submarine hull in four days, compared with 17 on first of class Astute. This involves inching the 220-tonne heavily outfitted module into the open submarine unit with, in places, just centimetres of clearance.
• The Command Deck Module also contains areas for eating and sleeping. The Astute class submarine is the first to have a bunk for each crew member. Each bunk is approximately 2 metres long by 1 metre wide by 1 metre high. The only crew member who has his own room, or cabin, is the Commanding Officer.
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