UK's latest high-tech submarine launched

HMS Artful Astute Class submarine launched this weekend

What new piece of military tech cost us taxpayers around £1 billion but packs a sonar powerful enough to detect ships 3,000 nautical miles and cruise missiles with a range of 1,240 miles?

That would be the Royal Navy's latest Astute Class submarine, the HMS Artful which was lowered into the water this weekend. It is one of seven nuclear submarines being built by BAE Systems.

The HMS Artful is the third Astute Class submarine to be launched. The first two were the HMS Astute and the HMS Ambush. The last four, the Audacious, Anson, Agamemnon and Ajax are currently under construction in Barrow.

The 97 meter submarine weights 7,400 tonnes and is packed to the rafters with the latest tech. According to BAE Systems – the company behind the craft – they are capable of circumnavigating the world without the need to resurface.

Inside the HMS Artful

Inside the HMS Artful

Stuart Godden, Astute programme director for BAE Systems, said: "Moving a submarine of this size from its build hall to the water is very challenging.

"It's testament to the experience and careful planning of the team involved that Artful is now ready for the next phase in her programme.

“Witnessing a submarine move out of the hall and be readied for launch is truly inspiring and a source of great pride to the thousands who have played a part in getting Artful to this stage.”

Ben Furfie is a former freelance writer for who produced daily news stories for the site on tech and gadgets. He also live-managed the T3 Award websites during the 2013 and 2014 T3 Awards. Ben later moved into web development and is now a Technical Development Manager leading a team of developers.