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Nuclear sub HMS Artful commissioned by Britain's Royal Navy

By Richard Tomkins

LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- Britain's Royal Navy has commissioned HMS Artful, the third of six Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarines ordered from BAE Systems.

The submarine, which was launched in 2014, was commissioned into service at HM Naval Base Clyde, located in Scotland.

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Astute-class submarines are 318 feet long, 37 feet in the beam, have a submerged speed of as much as 30 knots, and a test depth of 984 feet.

"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 First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Adm. Sir George Zambellas.

"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 U.K. Submarine Center of Specialization by 2020."

The ship's first operational deployment is planned for next year.

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