The Astute-class is the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarine ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel. The submarines are nuclear-propelled and fuelled by a nuclear reactor powerful enough to supply a city the size of Southampton. Its advanced technology means the submarines will never need to be refuelled. They employ the latest technology such as the Sonar 2076 that detects the sound of enemy submarines using the largest number of hydrophones ever fitted to a submarine. Linked with powerful onboard electronics these provide the submarines with outstanding sensitivity. The Astute submarines are armed with the latest versions of Spearfish heavy-weight torpedoes and Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles.
Professor Jonathan Gates is a defence consultant whose career has spanned 35 years. In 2000 he joined BAE Systems with responsibility for the integration of the Type 45 destroyer design programme with the development of the principal weapon system, Sea Viper. He is the author of the Haynes Type 45 Destroyer Manual. He lives in Bath.