The fourth Astute class submarine, Audacious, which is being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy, has achieved a significant milestone by completing first ever dive.
The trim and basin dive took place over two days in Devonshire Dock, at the Company's site in Barrow-in-Furness last week. The operation, which saw HMS Audacious submerge fully under water for the first time, tested many of the on-board systems, and proved the safety and stability of the 7,400-tonne, 97 metre-long attack submarine.
Officially named in December 2016 and launched in April last year, Audacious is scheduled to leave Barrow for sea trials later this year. HMS Audacious is claimed to set a new standard in British armed warfare options - with "greater firepower, better communications and more advanced stealth technology" than anything available before.
It's believed that more than 39,000 acoustic tiles mask the vessel's sonar signature - meaning Sthe nuclear submarine makes "less noise than a baby dolphin". Its powerful sonar is also state-of-the-art - and is claimed to be able to detect ships leaving New York from 3,000 miles away in the English Channel.
HMS Astute, HMS Artful and HMS Ambush are already in-service with the Royal Navy. Boats 5 and 6, Anson and Agamemnon, along with a seventh, as yet unnamed, Astute-class submarine are in different stages of construction at the Barrow site.