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World's most advanced attack submarine joins Royal Navy fleet: £1.3 BILLION HMS Anson armed with 38 Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk Block V cruise missiles can take out enemy ships 1,000 miles away

  • HMS Anson, an attack submarine equipped with 38 torpedoes and missiles, has joined the Royal Navy fleet
  • It has taken 11 years to prepare the 7,800-tonne boat, which is worth a whopping £1.3 billion, for action
  • Anson has a nuclear reactor onboard, meaning it will never require refuelling in its 25-year service period
  • The boat is 318 feet (97 metres) long, can carry a crew of 98 and has a top speed of over 30 knots
  • It was welcomed today at a commissioning ceremony in Barrow, attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson 

The world's most advanced attack submarine, which can take out land targets up to 1,000 miles away, has joined the Royal Navy fleet.

The HMS Anson is armed with 38 Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk Block V cruise missiles, and is worth a whopping £1.3 billion.

It is equipped to destroy enemy ships and submarines, gather intelligence and protect other Royal Navy vessels from above or below the waves.

The hunter-killer submarine was officially welcomed to the service during a commissioning ceremony at the BAE Systems' yard in Barrow, Cumbria earlier today.

Anson is is the fifth of the new 'Astute' class attack submarines joining the fleet, which are described as the largest and most advanced ever operated by the Navy.

Commander David Crosby, the boat's first Commanding Officer, said that 'HMS Anson would go on to be the best Astute-class submarine yet'.

He added: 'Among tough competition that is a bold claim, but I fully believe it; she will be successful on operations for years to come and be envied by nations across the globe.

'The good fortune to be commanding officer of the most advanced and capable attack submarine ever built in the UK on her commissioning day is the greatest honour of my submarine career.'

HMS Anson can reach speeds of over 30 knots, and is fully equipped to destroy enemy military infrastructure both on land and in the sea.

It is 318 feet (97 metres) long and has space for all of its 98 crew to have their own bed and space.

The onboard Rolls Royce nuclear reactor means the boat will never need to be refuelled during its 25-year service period.

As it can also purify water and air, its time underwater will only be limited by the amount of food onboard, meaning it is capable of circumnavigating the globe without resurfacing.

It took some 20 million hours of work over 11 years to prepare the 7,800-tonne boat for action, that is dubbed more complex than the International Space Station.

Anson was named after Admiral George Anson, a Royal Navy officer from the 18th Century who made a four-year voyage around the world and led a victory against the French at Cape Finisterre in 1747.

At the naming ceremony in December 2020, a bottle of cider was smashed against the hull as the drink was favoured by Admiral Anson as a cure for scurvy.

The submarine was rolled out of Devonshire Dock Hall in April 2021 and lowered into Wet Dock, where engineers and crew have been testing equipment and optimising its systems.

In February, Anson conducted a dive in Barrow that allowed personnel to check its balance while submerged, as well as its dive/surface systems, ballast tanks, depth sensors, sonars.

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, said: 'Given the world we live in, there is no more important tool in the United Kingdom's arsenal: silent, unseen, and a key instrument of our global, modern, ready Royal Navy.

'HMS Anson is the cutting edge in submarine design and construction… ensuring operational advantage in the underwater battlespace, the last great stealth domain.

'The Royal Navy's nuclear submarines: protecting critical national infrastructure, securing the nuclear deterrent, and ready to deliver firepower against those who would do us harm.'

The boat joins HMS Astute, Ambush, Artful and Audacious in the Astute programme; claimed to be one of the most complex engineering projects in the world.

The sixth and seventh Astute class boats are currently at an advanced stage of construction.

The submarine will remain in Barrow for a few more weeks undergoing final checks before being sailed to the HM Naval Base Clyde in Faslane to prepare for sea trials.

Commodore Paul Dunn, the head of the Royal Navy Submarine Service, said: 'The commissioning is a significant milestone for both Anson and the Submarine Service and I would like to thank the crew, BAE Systems and the 'submarine enterprise' for the delivery of our fifth Astute class.

'I look forward to welcoming Anson to Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, the home of the Submarine Service, in the near future.'

The 98-person crew, their families and naval leaders were present at today's ceremony, joined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

Instructions were read out to commission Anson before the submarine and crew were blessed by the Chaplain of the Fleet, Reverend Andrew Hillier.

Proceedings were ended when the White Ensign flag was hoisted for the first time and a ceremonial cake was cut by sponsor Julie Weale and the youngest member of the crew.

Britain's warships of the future? Royal Navy unveils concept images for ambitious autonomous fleet

They may seem like something out of The Avengers film franchise, but these ambitious concepts of revolutionary warships are actually part of the Royal Navy's vision of what the British fleet could look like in the future.

Detailed proposals for four potential vehicles, created by young engineers, have been released, including a stealth submarine carrier and a huge flying drone station which would be attached to a helium balloon and based in the stratosphere.

The idea is that attack drones shaped like conventional airplanes could then be launched from the station 'at a moment's notice' before shooting down towards Earth and potentially gliding just beneath the water in a stealth mode and smashing into an enemy ship.

The Royal Navy hasn't disclosed anticipated costs of bringing to life the newly-revealed concepts, which have been described as one expert involved in British defence and security operations as very much 'in the realm of speculative thinking'.

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