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U.K. awards BAE Systems contract for Astute-class submarine

By Ryan Maass
U.K. awards BAE Systems contract for Astute-class submarine
The U.K. Royal Navy says Astute-class attack submarines are the largest, most advanced, and most powerful submarines ever used by the force. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The U.K. Ministry of Defense has awarded BAE Systems a $1.98 billion contract to deliver the fifth Astute-class attack submarine.

The contract covers both design and manufacturing for Anson, the fifth of seven planned Astute-class submarines. Work on Anson began in 2010, and is now at an advanced phase of construction. The company expects the attack submarine to begin sea trials in 2020.

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"This is a hugely complex national endeavour and we are proud of the role we play in helping to protect our nation's interests," BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director Tony Johns said in a statement.

Astute-class attack submarines are the Royal Navy's largest and most technologically advanced submarines. Displacing 7,400 tons at sea with a top speed of 30 knots, the 318-foot vessel comes equipped with Spearfish anti-submarine torpedoes, and anti-air Thomahawk IV sea-launched missiles. Spearfish torpedoes are capable of hitting a target up to 14 miles away.

The vessels will be used for land strikes, strategic intelligence gathering, and both anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare.

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