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HMS Ambush (S120)
HMS Ambush long.jpg
Ambush on sea trials, December 2012.
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Ambush
Namesake: Ambush
Ordered: March 1997
Builder: BAE Systems Submarine Solutions
Laid down: 22 October 2003
Launched: 6 January 2011[1]
Christened: 16 December 2010[2]
Commissioned: 1 March 2013
Homeport: HM Naval Base Clyde
Identification: Pennant number: S120
Motto: Hide And Seek[3]
Status: On sea trials
Badge: File:HMS Ambush crest.jpg
General characteristics
Class & type: Astute-class submarine
Displacement: 7,400 tonnes submerged
Length: 97 m (318 ft)
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft)
Draught: 10 m (33 ft)
  • Rolls-Royce PWR2 reactor (with full submarine life core)
  • MTU 600 kilowatt diesel generators
Speed: 29+ knots (54 km/h) submerged
Range: Only limited by food and maintenance requirements
Complement: 98 officers and ratings. Max capacity of 109.
Sensors and
processing systems:

6 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes with stowage for up to 38 weapons:[4]

HMS Ambush is an Astute-class nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Royal Navy, the second boat of her class.

Ambush is the third vessel, and the second submarine, to bear the name in Royal Naval service. She was ordered in 1997, laid down in 2003 and commissioned in 2013.



Ambush's nuclear reactor will not need to be refuelled during the boat's 25-year service. Since the submarine can purify water and air, she will be able to circumnavigate the planet without resurfacing. The main limit is that the submarine will only be able to carry three months' supply of food for 98 officers and ratings.


Ambush has provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.[5] The submarine is capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres)[6] and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

Ambush on sea trials, December 2012

Construction and commissioning

Ambush was ordered from GEC's Marconi Marine (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions) on 17 March 1997. She was laid down at Barrow-in-Furness on 22 October 2003,[7] officially named on 16 December 2010,[8] launched on 6 January 2011,[1] completed her initial dive test on 30 September 2011,[9] and departed Barrow for sea trials on 15 September 2012.[10] Ambush was commissioned in a ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde on 1 March 2013.[11]

Operational history

Following her commissioning, Ambush continued sea trials throughout much of 2013. In May 2013, she carried out berthing trials with forward support ship RFA Diligence[12] and, in August 2013, she successfully conducted her first live torpedo and cruise missile firings.[13]

In October 2014, Ambush completed a maiden deployment to the United States, visiting Brazil's Port Canaveral along the way and taking part in its submarine force's centenary celebrations.[14][15][16] In April 2015, Ambush participated in Exercise Joint Warrior, the largest military exercise held in Europe, alongside 55 other naval ships of NATO navies.[17] She further participated in Exercise Dynamic Manta 15.[18]


On 20 July 2016, while surfacing on an exercise in the Strait of Gibraltar, Ambush collided with the Panama-flagged merchant ship Andreas, sustaining significant damage to the top of her conning tower where some of her sonar equipment is housed. It was reported that no crew members were injured during the collision and that the submarine's nuclear reactor section remained completely undamaged.[19][20][21][22] Repairs cost £2.1 million and the commander, who was training a group of students at the time, was sentenced to forfeiting a year of seniority for negligently hazarding the vessel.[23]

High North

Ambush launched Royal Marines Surveillance Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) in around March 2022 and docked at Tromsø, Norway to test out new submarine facilities before deploying further in the High North.[24][25]


Ambush is affiliated to:


  1. 1.0 1.1 "BAE Systems Barrow submarine Ambush’s maiden voyage". NW Evening Mail. 7 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  2. "Ambush rollout delay". NW Evening Mail. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  3. "Ambush takes shape". Ministry of Defence. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. 
  4. "UK's most powerful submarine joins the Navy". MoD. 27 Aug 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  5. "Alien submarine breaks technical barriers". BBC News. 7 May 2007. 
  6. "United States Navy Fact File: Tomahawk Land Attack Missile". US Navy. 
  7. BAE Systems Investor Brief October 2003
  8. "Navy names new attack submarine". 
  9. "Underwater Tests Mark Ambush Milestone". Northwest Evening Mail. 5 October 2011. 
  10. [1] Archived 21 April 2013 at Second Astute Class submarine ready to leave Barrow
  11. "Submarine HMS Ambush commissioned into the Royal Navy". Ministry of Defence. 4 March 2013. 
  12. "UK: HMS Ambush Links Up with Support Ship". Naval Today. 8 May 2013. 
  13. HMS Ambush action for the first time Archived 12 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine.,
  14. "HMS Ambush back from maiden voyage". Helensburgh Advertiser. 21 October 2014. 
  15. Galante, Alexandre (1 August 2014). "Comemorações aos 100 Anos da Força de Submarinos". 
  16. "British sub crew visits Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach". 
  17. "Dozens of warships join British war games off Scotland". 10 April 2015. 
  18. "Ambush put to the test on NATO exercise". 29 September 2015. 
  19. "UK nuclear submarine collides with merchant vessel off Gibraltar". BBC News. 
  20. "ROYAL NAVY STATEMENT – 20 July 2016". UK Ministry of Defence. 20 July 2016. 
  21. Amy Fenton (7 February 2017). "Barrow-built submarine HMS Ambush still undergoing repairs six months after collision". Barrow-in-Furness. 
  22. "Tanker which collided with nuclear submarine HMS AMBUSH identified, probably damaged". Fleetmon. 23 July 2016. 
  23. "Nuclear submarine commander 'took eye off ball' before collision". 15 February 2018. 
  24. "Royal Marines launch commando raid from Astute class submarine during Arctic exercise". Navylookout. 29 March 2022. 
  25. "HMS Ambush visits Norway to test new submarine facilities". Royal Navy. 25 April 2022. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 "HMS Ambush - Affiliations". Royal Navy website. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 

External links

External links

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