The British Royal Navy launched a splendid new submarine today, HMS Astute, (S. 119), lead ship of her class, which will be turned over to the Royal Navy in August. Astute, christened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, is being constructed at the BAE shipyards at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Astute is the lead ship of her (much delayed) class: 7,675 tons, constructed as a "stealth" boat, with six torpedo tubes; carrying both the Harpoon anti-ship missile, and the Tomahawk cruise missile; as well as Spearfish torpedoes. In the US Navy, Astute is comparable to the USS Virginia class attack submarines.
In contrast to the US Navy, which through no fault of its own, is too often stuck naming its own splendid ships for some sometimes less than appropriate politicians; the Royal Navy is allowed to have proper names for its ships. Astute's three sisters will be called Ambush, Artful and Audacious. Fitting names for attack submarines ! Congratulations to the Royal Navy.