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Saturday, 11 October 2014

INFOGRAPHICS #5: Astute class nuclear powered attack submarines of the Royal Navy

HMS Ambush during sea trials near Scotland.
Photo: Will Haigh
The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel. The following images depict the compartments and the general characteristics of the boat as well as its most important weapon systems and electronic equipment. The boats of the class are believed to be the world's most powerful nuclear attack submarines. The Sonar 2076 sonar suite has the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers while it has the world’s largest number of hydrophones (13,000!), providing the Royal Navy with the “biggest ears” of any sonar system in service today. This sonar is so sensitive that one lurking in the Solent would be able to detect a ship leaving New York harbour 3,500 miles across the Atlantic! In 2012, during simulated battles with the United States Navy's latest Virginia-class submarine USS New Mexico, it was reported that the Americans were "taken aback" by Astute's capabilities. Royal Navy Commander Ian Breckenridge was quoted saying: “Our sonar is fantastic and I have never before experienced holding a submarine at the range we were holding USS New Mexico. The Americans were utterly taken aback, blown away with what they were seeing.” Swiftsure and Trafalgar Update manager, Captain Ian Hughes said, "A good analogy for the performance of Sonar 2076 is that if the submarine was in Winchester it would be able to track a double decker bus going round Trafalgar Square" (a distance of about 60 miles). The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness. Two boats have been commissioned, the third one was launched recently while four more are under construction. See more here.



Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details. In high resolution here.

Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details. In high resolution here. Image: Navy News

Click to enlarge and save the image to view the details. In high resolution here. Image: BAE Systems

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