UK: Royal Navy Submarine HMS Ambush Makes Maiden Dive
Here’s a unique sight to thrill all submariners.
Nope, not clear skies over Barrow, but the very first dive of the Silent Service’s newest state-of-the-art leviathan: HMS Ambush.
The second of seven Astute-class boats made her maiden dive in a huge basin at BAE Systems’ yard in Cumbria, ten months after she was officially unveiled to the world.
The hunter-killer was moved from her berth to an enormous 25-metre-deep (82ft) ‘dive hole’ long enough and wide enough to accommodate her – and almost deep enough to completely submerge the submarine.
The dive – known to engineers as ‘the trim and inclining experiment’, proves that Ambush is safe and stable in the water and measures the submarine’s performance at a depth of 16 metres (52ft), which is periscope depth.
The trials took place over two days and involved more than 70 people including BAE Systems’ engineers, Ministry of Defence personnel and Ambush’s crew.
“This is a major milestone for Ambush and shows she is firmly on track to exit Barrow early next year in order to commence her sea trials,” said Cdr Peter Green, the boat’s first Commanding Officer.
“Nuclear submarines are some of the most complex machines on earth and therefore to see everything come together in order to dive the boat for the first time is very satisfying.
“It has been a superb team effort between BAE, the Ministry of Defence submarine project team and Ambush ship’s company.”
Preparations for the first dive were extensive; on the equipment side, weeks were spent ensuring all the systems on the boat were tested, commissioned and ready for use by the crew.
Ambush’s ship’s company spent months training for the moment and, in addition to mastering their own jobs aboard the 7,400-tonne submarine, have also honed their skills in firefighting, damage control, first aid and submarine escape – skills required of every man who wears the coveted dolphin badge on his uniform.
“The first dive marks the start of what is likely to be a 30-year career for Ambush,” said weapons engineer officer Lt Cdr Richard Brooking.
“We’ve seen from the Libyan operations how important submarines are in the modern defence arsenal – and everybody on board is keen to get the boat to sea. We’re delighted that things are progressing so well.”
Ambush is due to make her maiden voyage to her future home at Faslane early in the new year. In the meantime, of the rest of the class:
Boat 1 – HMS Astute – is commissioned and in the hands of the RN and undergoing trials in Scotland
Boat 3 – HMS Artful – is taking shape in the cavernous Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow, where key equipment and systems have been commissioned, most recently the boat’s diesel generators commissioned 18 days ahead of schedule.
Boat 4 – HMS Audacious – has all her pressure hull units in the dock hall; these are being fitted out and joined together.
Boat 5 – HMS Anson – will have her keel laid in a formal ceremony on Thursday October 13; the even will be marked by the first unit of the submarine moved out of fabrication and into full construction and outfit in the hall.
Boat 6 – long lead procurement has begun and first steel cut is due in 2012.
As for Boat No.2, ahead of her sea trials and departure for Faslane, Ambush has to go through ‘power range testing’.
Source: royalnavy, October 06, 2011