8 Astute attack submarines are essential for sustaining the UK's security, access to the sea lanes, for sea control and sea denial. Click here to read our pamphlet making the business case for 8 Astutes.
Submarines are a key part of the UK's current and future defence policy's expeditionary military posture which assumes the UK should have the ability to support concurrently two medium scale operations. Operational capability and availability should determine submarine force levels for the Royal Navy.
Britain's existing submarine fleet is ageing. It needs 8 new boats (see table ?). The new Astute class submarines, the first of which, HMS Astute will enter service with the Royal Navy in 2009, will radically alter the Royal Navy's submarine capability. HMS Ambush will follow in 2010 and Artful in 2012 (Hansard Col.1092W, 19 June 2008).
An attack subamarine force of 8 boats gives a peace time patrol and war fighting surge capability, as well as enabling protection of the four strategic deterrent carrying submarines. Anything less than 8 boats will not do.
The world is witnessing a significant increase in the number of submarines being operated by the navies of the world. The best way to offset a submarine threat is with another submarine. The statement by ] in ] 2009 that "....... applies equally to the Royal Navy's submarines.
Britain's nuclear powered submarines perform important roles:-
- Sea control - maritime superiority keeping the sea lanes open and protecting expeditionary forces.
- Sea denial - using stealth and presence to deny other fleets access to areas of the seas and oceans.
- Protection of strategic deterrent carrying submarines.
- Strategic intelligence gathering.
- Protection of air craft carriers.
- Special forces insertion.
- Land attack.
- Contributing to current operations around the globe.
Submarines have great flexibility and five key attributes:- Stealth - Endurance - Agility - Mobility - Payload that enables them to be 'first' on station in a crisis. They can strike far inland to gather intelligence or attack. They are our most survivable national strategic defence asset.
Where are we now with the Astute programme:-
- HMS Astute launch of 8 June 2007 was the first launch of a nuclear submarine for 10 years.
- HMS Astute will join the Royal Navy in 2009.
- "The 4 Astute class submarines that hve been ordered (Astute, Ambush, Artful, Audacious) are in various stages of production. Their planned in-service dates are subject to ongoing detailed review." (Hansard Col.1053W, 19 January 2009)
- Government are re-baselining the programme timetable and an announcement will be made in due course (Hansard Col. 1053W, 19 January 2009).
- We intend to note a further 3 submarines in this class (Hansard Col.1053W, 19 January 2009).