Artful (S121)

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: SSN Group 5

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HMS Artful Commissioning

from the North West Evening Mail

Lady Zambellas, who named HMS Artful at Barrow in Furness in 2014, at the Commissioning ceremony in Faslane.

The world's most advanced nuclear submarine has officially joined the Royal Navy fleet. The 7,400-tonne Submarine HMS Artful has been Commissioned at Faslane. The Ceremony was attended by the Artful's 150 crew, their families and senior navy officials.

Built at BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow Artful arrived at HM Naval Base Clyde in 2015 to undergo sea trials off the west coast of Scotland.

It is the third Astute Class attack submarine to join the fleet following HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, and is said to be the most powerful Submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy.

Commodore Mike Walliker, commander of the Faslane flotilla, said:

For 50 years we've been operating nuclear submarines in this country and today we commissioned the most advanced nuclear submarine we have ever put to sea, and as of today bar-none in the world.

She is fitted with the most advanced weapons system, a very good propulsion system and is capable of operating undetected all over the world for months at a time.

Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, HMS Artful will be able to strike targets up to 1,200 miles from the coast while stealth technology allows it to remain undetected despite being 50 per cent larger than the Trafalgar Class subs.

Commander Stuart Armstrong, the Commanding Officer of HMS Artful, said:

From the bow to stern, she contains the most advanced technology that the Royal Navy has ever put to sea in a submarine.

She is alive and has a beating heart in the crew that serve on board. It's us who decide where she goes and decide when she can unleash her awesome potential.

Despite being the most advanced sub to join the fleet, space inside remains as limited as traditional navy boats. Warrant Officer Russell Garner said:

I served on Vanguard-class previously and it's still the same tight spaces, but you learn to live with it.

Obviously, this is the most technologically-advanced submarine in the fleet and that's the most important thing. Hopefully it will stand us in good stead for the future.

HMS Astute and Ambush have already completed deployments in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The navy said the submarines have been involved in anti-smuggling operations and provided Tomahawk Land Attack Missile capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.

All seven of the navy's Astute Class Submarines will eventually be based on the Clyde.


11-03-2005 : Laid Down
07-05-2014 : Launched
08-10-2014 : Completed successful frist dive in Devonshire Dock at Barrow

13-08-2015 : Left Barrow and put to sea for the first time
20-08-2015 : Arrived at Faslane for the first time
10-12-2015 : The third of the Astute Class attack submarines, Artful, was officially been handed over to the Royal Navy.
29-02-2016 : HMS Artful test fires first torpedo using new UK-made advanced Combat System

The firing tested the BAE Systems designed Common Combat System (CCS) on board, which functions as the digital brain of the boat controlling its eyes, ears and nervous system. Using the torpedo test, the cutting-edge system was able to interpret sonar readings, and then attack a moving target with a practice weapon.

The CCS, completed ahead of time so it was ready for the third rather than fourth Astute submarine and uses the latest technology to collect and process huge amounts of data from sensors such as sonar, providing key information to help inform important Command decisions.
18-03-2016 : HMS Artful become a Commissioned Warship of the Royal Navy at a ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde.

Guest of honour at the ceremony was the submarine's sponsor Lady Zambellas, who had named Artful in September 2013, before her launch in May 2014, in Barrow in Furness.


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