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equipment / Submarine
Astute Class
equipment / Submarine

Astute Class

The largest, most advanced and most powerful submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, the Astute Class is submarine supremacy redefined!

Astute Class submarine

3D visualisation of Astute Class submarine


Several Royal Navy submariners stand on the on top of an Astute Class submarine

A growing fleet

The Royal Navy’s Astute Class will consist of seven nuclear-powered submarines. HMS Astute, Ambush, Artful, Audacious and Anson are all currently in active service and a further two boats – HMS Agincourt and HMS Agamemnon - are currently under construction.

Astute Class submarine emerges from the grey sea in Scotland

Reassuringly unseen

The Royal Navy’s Astute Class submarines are the first not to be fitted with traditional optical periscopes – instead, they utilise high specification video technology to scan the horizon. They are also the quietest submarines ever constructed, can circumnavigate the globe completely submerged, and are capable of producing their own oxygen and drinking water.

About the crew

As deployments on a submarine can vary in length, with overall assignments lasting three years, two full crews rotate shifts to allow the vessel to remain at sea for as long as possible. Crews may serve between 60 and 80 days before resurfacing and rotating out.

Unrivalled range and precision

Missile being fired from HMS Astute

Devastating precision

The Tomahawk IV missile has immense range and in-flight versatility

Among the Astute Class’ formidable arsenal of weapons is the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile (TLAM), which allows the submarines to strike at ground targets hundreds of miles inland with pinpoint accuracy.

The Tomahawk IV is the latest version of the missile that has a longer range than its predecessors (well in excess of 1,000 miles) and can be re-directed at a new target mid-flight. It can also beam back images of the battlefield to its mother sub.

Spearfish torpedo being loaded into a Royal Navy submarine

Anti-sub warfare

The heavyweight Spearfish torpedo destroys on impact or proximity

Also onboard the Astute Class of submarines is the lethal Spearfish torpedo. Weighing nearly two tonnes, this heavyweight torpedo can attack targets up to 14 miles away (which can increase to 30 miles at low speed) and is capable of blowing an enemy submarine clean out of the water.

Guided by either copper wire or inbuilt sonar, the Spearfish delivers 660lbs of explosive charge either when it impacts with the intended target or via an acoustic proximity fuse underneath.

Astute submarines powers along on the surface of the water

Always one step ahead

Astute Class submarines utilise the latest technology to dominate the waters

The Astute Combat Management System (ACMS) is an evolved version of the Submarine Command System (SMCS) used on other Royal Navy subs. This system receives data from sonars and other sensors and, using advanced data handling and algorithms, displays this data as real-time images on the command consoles. 

For detecting enemy vessels, the Astute Class is equipped with Sonar 2076 - an integrated passive/active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept and towed arrays.

Units and squadrons

Discover the global operations and bases of the Royal Navy submarine units. Track our missions, explore facts and figures, and check our current and past deployment locations. 

Join the Submarine Service

Life under the ocean isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll be pushed to your limits, but you’ll be rewarded for it too.

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