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BAE launches Anson submarine at British worksite

Anson, the fifth of seven Astute-class submarines BAE is building for the British Royal Navy, was launched on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems
Anson, the fifth of seven Astute-class submarines BAE is building for the British Royal Navy, was launched on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems

April 20 (UPI) -- BAE launched Anson, the fifth of seven Astute-class attack submarines it is building for the British Royal Navy, at its worksite in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in Britain.

The submarine was moved out from Devonshire Dock Hall and entered the water for the first time Tuesday, according to a press release from the contractor.

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"The launch marks an important milestone in the Astute program and seeing Anson enter the water at such an advanced state is a tangible demonstration of everyone's hard work over the years," Steve Timms, managing director of submarine designs for BAE, said in the release.

"Designing and building nuclear-powered submarines is a national endeavor and days like this bring a huge sense of pride for our workforce, our partners in the submarine enterprise and our UK supply chain, not to mention our communities," Timms said.

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The vessel will begin the next phase of its test and commissioning program before leaving the area for sea trials with the Royal Navy in 2022, according to BAE.

The British defense ministry awarded BAE with a $1.98 billion contract to design and manufacture the Anson in 2015.

BAE described the Astute-class boats, which weigh 8,157 tons and are 318 feet long, as "the largest and most advanced attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy."

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The vessels can circumnavigate the globe while fully submerged, while producing their own oxygen and drinking water, according to the shipbuilder.

The first four submarines in the class -- HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious -- have been delivered to the Royal Navy, and BAE is at work building two more.

The $1.77 billion contract for the sixth in the series, the HMS Agamemnon, was awarded in 2017.

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