The Royal Navy is one of the most powerful in the world as it operators some of the most powerful military vessels that to ever exist. Don’t forget that the British Queen Elizabeth class carrier is the most advanced of its type outside the U.S. But what happens underwater?
Something very similar, as the British Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet submarines are the most advanced outside the States.
First of all, the Astute class is a class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines that has served the Royal Navy since 2010. The development of the submarines started in 2001, and it’s still ongoing. BAE Systems Submarines and Barrow-in-Furness have built five vessels so far; four of them are active and two more are under contradiction.
There are seven submarines planned in total. Astute class is the successors of the Trafalgar class nuclear-powered fleet submarines. The SSN(R) is the submarine class that will succeed the Astute class and is planned to serve the Royal Navy in the 2040s. The cost of each vessel is estimated to be $2.2 billion.
The submarines have an overall displacement of 7,000 to 7,400 tonnes surfaced and 7,400 to 7,800 submerged, length of 97 meters (or 318 feet and 3 inches), and a beam of 11.3 meters (or 37 feet and 1 inch). Each vessel is powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR 2 nuclear reactor capable of providing the submarine with unlimited range.
Of course, except for the technical matters, there is still plenty of practical issues that limit the range of military vessels (like food capacity), that’s why Astute submarines typically make 90 days missions. When submerged, the top speed of the vessel is stated to be 30 knots or 35 mph and has a typical capacity of 98 men.