October 22, 2010 / 12:53 PM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX-Britain's Astute class submarines

Oct 22 (Reuters) - The British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Astute ran aground off the coast of northwest Scotland on Friday, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said. [ID:nLDE69L10F]

Commissioned into the navy in August, The submarine was undergoing trials before becoming fully operational.

Here are some facts about the submarine and some other incidents involving Britain’s submarine fleet:

* The vessel is part of a new Astute-class of submarine, made by BAE Systems (BAES.L), and Britain plans to buy a total of seven.

* Astute’s role as an undersea hunter-killer relies on stealth. It performs a range of tasks including intelligence gathering, anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel warfare.

* The submarine carries six 21-inch (533mm) tubes for Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles — totalling 38 weapons — capable of delivering pin-point strikes 2,000 km from the coast.

* The nuclear reactor and four turbines on board Astute are capable of generating tens of megawatts of power, and less than a single watt of power is radiated into the sea. Astute is designed not to require refuelling throughout her full service life.

* Key Figures:

Length Overall: 97 metres

Displacement: 7,800 tonnes

Design Diving Depth: over 300 metres

Submerged Speed: around 30 knots

Patrol Endurance: 90 days

Crew: 84 (12 officers)

OTHER ACCIDENTS INVOLVING SUBMARINES:

2002 - The nuclear-powered submarine HMS Trafalgar struck the bottom of the sea at more than 14 knots off the Isle of Skye after basic navigational errors during a training exercise.

2007 - Two British sailors were killed and another injured in an accident on HMS Tireless, a nuclear-powered submarine, on exercise in the Arctic. The Ministry of Defence said the nuclear reactor on board was not affected.

2008 - HMS Superb hit a submerged pinnacle after passing through the Suez Canal, forcing it to surface.

— Its nuclear reactor was unaffected and there was no water leakage or environmental impact, defence officials said. There were no injuries among the 112-strong crew. The Swiftsure-class attack submarine was about 80 miles south of Suez when the incident happened.

2009 - Two submarines — France’s Le Triomphant and Britain’s HMS Vanguard — collided at very low speed, having failed to detect each other because they were designed to be silent and invisible.

Sources: Reuters/Jane’s Fighting Ships/BAE Systems: (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;

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