CUMBRIA, England, Dec. 17 (UPI) — Audacious, the U.K. Royal Navy’s fourth Astute-class submarine, was officially named during a ceremony.
The Royal Navy calls its Astute-class ships the most powerful submarines ever developed for the branch. The vessels are capable of traveling at a top speed of 30 knots, and are armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
BAE Systems, the primary contractor for the ships, called the naming ceremony for the fourth vessel a milestone for the program.
“We have already delivered three highly capable Astute class submarines to the Royal Navy and Audacious now takes another significant step towards joining her sister submarines,” BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director Tony Johns said in a press release. “This is a fitting end to a very important year for our business, in which we also began construction on the Dreadnought submarine program and opened the first of our new facilities.”
Johns went on to add that the contractor is eyeing a launch for the vessel in 2017. U.K. defense officials credited a more generous budget for sustaining the program. Audacious will remain at the company’s main construction facility before it is formally launched.