Astute Class submarine HMS Artful has officially 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.
Amanda Zambellas was joined by her husband Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord and head of the Naval Service, representatives of the companies involved in Artful's construction and operation as well as the submarine's 150 crew, their families and friends.
"This is a red letter day that marks the beginning of the next crucial stage of development for the Royal Navy and its Submarine Service,” said Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.
"Today’s ceremony dramatically increases the operational capability of the Submarine Service with the commissioning of our third Astute-class boat, and is another milestone in the journey towards HM Naval Base Clyde becoming the UK Submarine Centre of Specialisation by 2020."
Lady Amanda Zambellas said:
"It is wonderful that so many families and affiliates could join HMS Artful for her big day. Over a decade has passed since her keel was laid, so it is hugely rewarding for everyone involved with the project to finally see the White Ensign flying from her stern. While the technology inside is impressive, it is the Ship’s Company who really give HMS Artful her soul. Through their expertise and a good sense of fun, I know they really will live up to her name, and I look forward to supporting her in the many years ahead".
Since she was handed over to the Royal Navy by BAE Systems Submarines in December 2015, Artful has been conducting trials to prove her systems and equipment at sea, ahead of her first operational deployment later in 2017. The highlight of the trials was the firing of six heavyweight Spearfish torpedoes on the British Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre near the Isle of Skye.
Artful is the first of the Royal Navy's submarines to be fitted with the Common Combat System (CCS), which is regarded as the digital 'brain' of the boat controlling its 'eyes', 'ears' and 'nervous system'.
Artful's two sister boats Astute and Ambush have already successfully conducted operational deployments. Both have deployed to the Mediterranean, and Middle East where they have been involved in anti-smuggling and security operations and have provided Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) capability in support of anti-terrorism operations in the region.
The Astute-class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.
HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, and now Artful, are the first of the Class to be accepted by Navy Command, which is responsible for operating all of the Royal Navy's vessels. The next two submarines in the Class, Audacious and Anson, are currently being built in Barrow, with Agamemnon and the unnamed Boat 7 to follow.
BAE Systems is responsible for delivering the Astute Class and for the design of the successor to the Vanguard class, Successor, which will carry the UK's nuclear deterrent, and also be based at HM Naval Base Clyde.