Submarines: Astute Promotion


May 12, 2007: Britain is pitching its new Astute class SSNs (nuclear attack submarine) as the quietist and most lethal in the world. The 7,200 ton boats are 323 feet long and carry a crew of 98. The Astutes are more spacious than previous British SSNs, and every sailor will have his own bunk, and more space in general. Sensors are of generally the same quality as those found in American boats, but the British, as in the past, have put more emphasis on silencing. Just how effective these efforts have been won't be known until the Astute puts to sea in two years time. These boats cost $2.5 billion each (about 50 percent over the original budget), and are three years late. Only three have been ordered so far, and the navy is hoping to get four more. The Astute is to be launched next month. Most existing British SSNs will be retired in the next ten years. The Royal Navy is making a big public relations splash over the launching of the Astute, and its capabilities. This isn't about pride, but about getting public opinion, and members of parliament, behind paying for more Astute class boats.




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