Military Wiki
HMS Audacious (S122)
Career Royal Navy Ensign
Ordered: May 2007
Builder: BAE Systems Submarine Solutions
Laid down: 24 March 2009
Identification: Pennant number: S122
Status: Under construction
Badge: File:HMS Audacious badge.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)
Propulsion: 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 men normally, capacity of 109
Sensors and
processing systems:

6 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes with stowage for up to 38 weapons:[1]

HMS Audacious is the fourth Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine of the Royal Navy.[2] Several previous vessels of the Royal Navy have borne the name. She was formally named on 16 December 2016[3] and was launched on 28 April 2017.[4][5] Audacious was stated to be handed over in January 2021.[6] A parliamentary written answer stated that Audacious was commissioned on 3 April 2020,[7] but her public ceremonial commissioning took place on 23 September 2021.[8]



Audacious's nuclear reactor will not need to be refuelled during the boat's 25-year service. The submarine can purify water and air, and will be able to circumnavigate the planet without surfacing. However, she carries three months' supply of food for 98 officers and ratings.


Audacious has provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.[9] The submarine is capable of firing Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres)[10] and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.


Long lead items for her construction were ordered on 28 August 2006,[11] although the actual order was not placed until 21 May 2007.[12] Launch was expected in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the submarine was due to leave the yard in 2017.[13] She was eventually formally named on 16 December 2016,[3] and floated out on 28 April 2017, and was due to leave in 2018 for sea trials.[5] The original budget was £1.279b but by 2015 this had risen to £1.492b.[14]

The submarine and its crew have formally forged links with the City of Leeds (which had previously had an association with HMS Ark Royal) by meeting the people at Elland Road in the city and marching in the Armistice Day parade in November 2016.[15]

Audacious completed her first dive at Devonshire Dock over two days in January 2018.[16][17] She eventually sailed from Barrow on 4 April 2020, and commenced sea trials on 6 April 2020.[18] A parliamentary written answer stated that Audacious was commissioned on 3 April 2020,[7] but she was ceremonially commissioned on 23 September 2021.[8]

Operational History

Audacious was spotted docked in Gibraltar with Tomahawk Missiles loaded in response to Vladimir Putin's threat to NATO.[19][20]


  1. "UK's most powerful submarine joins the Navy". MoD. 27 Aug 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  2. BAE Systems News, 10 December 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Fourth Astute class submarine formally named". Ministry of Defence. 16 December 2016. 
  4. "BAE Systems launches Audacious - the fourth state-of-the-art Astute submarine". BAE Systems. 28 April 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Fourth new Astute-class submarine Audacious launched at Barrow-in-Furness". Royal Navy. 28 April 2017. 
  6. "ASTUTE CLASS SUBMARINES BOAT 4 ACCOUNTING OFFICER ASSESSMENT". UK Parliament. 16 October 2019. "The Operational handover for AUDACIOUS is now planned for January 2021." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Ministry of Defence Astute Class Submarines". UK Hansard. 29 April 2020. "HMS AUDACIOUS was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 3 April 2020" 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The fourth @RoyalNavy #Astute-class #submarine, HMS Audacious, has been ceremonially commissioned into the fleet." (in en). 23 September 2021. 
  9. "Alien submarine breaks technical barriers". BBC News. 7 May 2007. 
  10. "United States Navy Fact File: Tomahawk Land Attack Missile". US Navy. 
  11. "New nuclear sub is lifeline for Barrow". BBC News Online. 28 August 2006. 
  12. "Royal Navy to Get New Attack Submarine". Royal Navy. 21 May 2007. 
  13. Andrew Chuter (14 August 2015). "UK's 3rd Astute-class Sub Begins Sea Trials". 
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NAO15
  15. Gray, Mike, ed (January 2017). "Audacious goes to Elland Road". Portsmouth: Royal Navy. p. 5. ISSN 0028-1670. 
  16. BAE Systems (15 January 2018). "Fourth Astute class submarine completes first dive". BAE Systems. "The trim and basin dive took place over two days in Devonshire Dock, at the Company's site in Barrow-in-Furness last week." 
  17. Adamczyk, Ed (17 January 2018). "British submarine HMS Audacious completes first dive". UPI. "The Royal Navy's fourth Astute-class attack submarine was completely submerged for the first time at the company's Barrow, England, facility, and many of the 318-feet long vessel's onboard systems were successfully tested." 
  18. "Residents urged to abide by lockdown rules as sub leaves Barrow" (in en). The Mail. 4 April 2020. 
  19. Bentley-York, Jacob (19 April 2022). "Royal Navy’s new £1bn submarine loaded with deadly Tomahawk cruise missiles in warning to Putin after his threat to Nato". The Sun. 
  20. "Fourth Astute-Class nuclear powered submarine, HMS Audacious, pays first visit to the Rock". Gibraltar News. Gibraltar. 16 April 2022. 

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