Fifth Hunter-Killer Submarine Named Anson
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Dec. 11, 2020)
The fifth Astute class submarine has officially been named Anson in a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. (BAE image)
Anson, the Royal Navy's latest Astute Class attack submarine, has officially been named in a virtual ceremony at BAE Systems' Barrow-in-Furness shipyard today.

Astute Class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, and Anson is the fifth to be officially named.

The last HMS Anson (1942-1951) was a King George V-class battleship, which saw active service in World War Two. All eight Anson vessels have been named after an Admiral of the Fleet, George Anson (1697-1762), who commanded at the first battle of Cape Finisterre and was First Lord of the Admiralty during the ‘7 Years War’.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Anson will play a vital role in defending the UK from deep-sea threats posed by adversaries around the world and provide a competitive edge for decades to come. The name Anson already exemplifies the long and rich history of our Royal Navy and now, thanks to Anson’s latest maritime technology, showcases excellence in UK shipbuilding.”

In keeping with a tradition that goes back centuries, the Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy, blessed the boat via video message.

Ian Booth, Submarine Delivery Agency CEO, said: “This is the first submarine to bear the name HMS Anson but the eighth naval vessel to carry the title which has a rich history spanning several hundred years.

“I am certain she will carry on that heritage well into the future as she joins a world-beating, cutting-edge submarine fleet that is of strategic importance to the UK’s security and prosperity.”

Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute Class submarines never need to be refuelled. The extremely capable boats can circumnavigate the world without surfacing and are limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew. The submarines manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.

Astute is the first class of Royal Navy submarines not to be fitted with optical periscopes. Instead, they use high-specification video technology with images delivered into the submarine control room via fibre-optic cables. BAE Systems Submarines is responsible for the design, build, testing and commissioning of the seven-strong Astute fleet. The Astute and Dreadnought programmes support 9,000 jobs at the shipyard in Barrow and thousands more across the UK supply chain.

Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: “Today marks an important milestone in Anson’s build programme and is the culmination of many years’ hard work. We have already delivered four highly-capable Astute-class submarines to the Royal Navy and Anson now takes another significant step towards joining her sister submarines.”

Sister boats HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful are already in service, contributing to operations and supporting the Continuous at Sea Deterrent. HMS Audacious, the fourth of class, left Barrow earlier this year and is currently undergoing sea trials.

Boats six and seven – Agamemnon and Agincourt – are in construction at the Barrow shipyard.

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Fifth Astute Class Submarine Named Anson at Barrow-in-Furness
(Source: BAE Systems; issued Dec. 11, 2020)
The fifth Astute class submarine has officially been named Anson in a ceremony at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

In line with tradition, Anson was blessed by The Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy and then christened with a bottle of cider being smashed against her hull.

The 97 metre long, 7,400 tonne submarine is due to be launched into the water in Barrow early next year, ahead of leaving for sea trials in 2022.

“The naming of Anson is a significant step towards her joining the other four Astute class submarines already in service with the Royal Navy. Throughout this year, we’ve adapted the business to keep our people safe whilst allowing them to continue the important role of delivering critical capability to our customer. Reaching this important milestone is testament to the dedicated work of our workforce, our Royal Navy partners and the Submarine Delivery Agency,” said Cliff Robson, Managing Director, BAE Systems' Submarines.

More than 1,700 people work on the Astute programme, which is delivering seven attack submarines to the Royal Navy. Earlier this year, HMS Audacious, the fourth boat in the class, left Barrow for her operational base, at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde in Faslane.

Work is also well under way in Barrow on Astute boats six and seven, as well as the first two boats in the Dreadnought class, which is the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, work on both Astute and Dreadnought has continued throughout this year, with major changes being implemented across its Barrow and satellite sites to enable employees to work safely and adhere to social distancing. It is for that reason that only a handful of people were able to witness the naming ceremony.

Each submarine has a sponsor whose role includes carrying out the official naming. Anson’s sponsor is Julie Weale, the wife of Rear Admiral John Weale, who retired from the Royal Navy as Head of Submarine Service and Flag Officer Scotland and North Ireland earlier this year.

“This is the first submarine to bear the name, HMS Anson, but the eighth naval vessel to carry the title which has a rich history spanning several hundred years. I am certain she will carry on that heritage well into the future as she joins a world-beating, cutting-edge submarine fleet that is of strategic importance to the UK’s security and prosperity,” said Ian Booth, Chief Executive, Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA).

Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute class submarines never need to be refuelled and they can manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean, meaning they are able to circumnavigate the world without surfacing. With 98 crew able to monitor world-leading sensors, the Astute-class carry both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

BAE Systems’ Submarine business employs approximately 10,000 people mainly in the North West of England with many more in the supply chain. The business spends more than £1 billion per year with over 1,000 suppliers who support the Astute and Dreadnought programmes, more than 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.

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