Royal Navy’s newest hunter-killer submarine prepares for frontline ops

The Royal Navy’s newest hunter-killer submarine is now on the verge of joining the operational cycle following intensive tests in the Atlantic.

Royal Navy

HMS Anson, the fifth of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class boats, conducted trials off the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean Sea, rigorously testing its systems and weaponry.

The Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines are the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever operated by the navy, according to the officials. They are capable of launching long-range Tomahawk missiles to accurately hit land targets and lethal Spearfish torpedoes to defeat enemy submarines.

Coupled with that, Anson and its operational sisters – Astute, Ambush, Artful and Audacious – are capable of circumnavigating the globe while submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water to sustain the crews on arduous and lengthy deployments.

Therefore, this advanced submarine, which left the shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness in February last year – needs extremely thorough trials and tests before joining her sisters on operations.

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Anson spent time in waters off the UK coast and then sailed further north of Scotland to test its weapons systems with successful firings of both Spearfish and Tomahawk test missiles.

The tests and trials intensified into the Atlantic as Anson headed to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) in the waters around the Bahamas.

The US Navy’s AUTEC base gathers together world-leading experts and technology. The ranges off Andros Island – south-west of Nassau – are centered on a natural phenomenon, the Tongue of the Ocean.

It’s 20 miles wide, 150 miles long, some 6,000ft deep in places and crammed with sensors and hydrophones to record reams of data on how well a submarine, torpedo or sonar is performing.

Tests at AUTEC are crucial to Anson’s future operations, ensuring the vessel can hunt adversary submarines without detection.