Astute Class

Attack Submarine

The Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.

In the first part of 2012, they proved their ability to prepare and launch Tomahawk missiles, successfully firing 2 missiles from the Gulf of Mexico and accurately hitting the targets on the test range in Northern Florida.


Weapons and capabilities

Tomahawk cruise missile

Sea-launched missile

The Tomahawk IV – known in the Royal Navy as TLAM (Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile) – allows submarines to strike at ground targets hundreds of miles inland with pinpoint accuracy.

The missile has been in use with the Submarine Service since the late 1990s.

Tomahawk IV is the latest version of the missile. It has a longer range than its predecessors (well in excess of 1,000 miles), can be directed at a new target in mid-flight, and can also beam back images of the battlefield to its mother submarine.

Spearfish torpedo

Anti-submarine torpedo

The Spearfish torpedo is the heavyweight torpedo, weighing nearly two tonnes and is capable of blasting enemy submarines or ships out of the water.

At full speed, Spearfish can attack a target up to 14 miles away. At low speed, that increases to more than 30 miles. 

It is guided either by a copper wire or closes on to its target using its inbuilt sonar, delivering a 660lb explosive charge. That detonates either when it strikes the hull of an enemy submarine, or via an acoustic proximity fuse underneath the target.

Being a part of the Submarine Service

CH Hayes, 46

Chef (Submariner)

You can’t beat the buzz of working in a kitchen – especially when you’re 200 metres underwater! Living in such close quarters means we’re a tight-knit team, and a good meal is a sure-fire way to boost morale.