New hunter-killer enters final stage of construction

The fifth of the Silent Service’s Astute-class submarines has entered the final stages of construction and commissioning.

HMS Anson was rolled out of her home for the past decade before being lowered into the water at BAE’s yard in Barrow, during a two-day operation.

Now she’s conducting final testing and commissioning of systems, preparing for her first dive – submerging most of the boat in a special dry dock – ahead of leaving Cumbria next year and joining her four sisters in Faslane.

Anson’s crew are key to all these tests, having been increasingly involved in the construction and fitting out process.

After thorough testing and commissioning of some 40 critical systems, the crew are responsible for the boat’s watertight integrity during her time in Barrow as well as general safety aboard.

“The roll out itself from the dock hall is a slow and delicate operation, checking that the cradles and submarine hull are not subject to stress as the boat is rolled over the transitions on to the ship-lift,” says commanding officer, David Crosby.

“Lowering the ship-lift also takes time, with the naval architects ensuring that all the tanks have the correct contents, so the boat maintains the correct trim as she floats. As she is lowered the ship’s staff are conducting rounds, leak checks and looking for floods.”

Once afloat, the boat was ‘cold moved’ to Wet Dock Quay with the assistance of tugs for training leading to the next milestone, the trim dive.

Crosby says the efforts so far by the combined team has been “nothing short of amazing.

“The launch marks a significant milestone in the delivery of HMS Anson to the front line.

“I am extremely encouraged by the strong relationships my team and the RN are maintaining with the BAE build team and their contracted support; these teams will ensure HMS Anson leave Barrow in 2022 set well for sea trials ahead of what will be a long and successful operational life.

“My small team have worked tirelessly over the past nine months to get the acceptance of watertight integrity systems over the line, thereby supporting the next stage.

“BAE and the RN returned to work last May and, through a stringent covid testing process and adherence to PPE guidelines, have worked wonders to deliver us to this point.

“I would also like to thank my team and their families for their understanding and support at the challenging time – their support is essential to our continued success.”