The keel is the first part of a submarine to be built
A ceremony has been held at a Cumbrian shipyard to mark the start of work on the sixth of a fleet of seven new submarines for the Royal Navy.
The Astute-class vessel – a nuclear-powered attack submarine – is being built at BAE Systems in Barrow.
It has been officially named Agamemnon after the Greek mythological King, though it has not yet been constructed.
A keel laying ceremony took place at Devonshire Dock Hall.
Defence Equipment Minister Philip Dunne attended the ceremony and revealed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had signed a new contract with BAE Systems.
The Barrow yard has been working on the Astute programme since 2001.
The other submarines are HMS Astute, Ambush, Artful, Audacious and Anson. The seventh will be named HMS Ajax.
Hard to detect
The keel for the first vessel – HMS Astute – was laid in January 2001 and the craft was launched in June 2007.
Mr Dunne said: “The keel-laying of Agamemnon and the handover of HMS Astute and HMS Ambush to the Royal Navy are huge milestones, reflecting significant progress in the programme.
“By ensuring the UK’s submarine programme remains affordable, this new contract will help deliver the Astute Class and secure around 5,000 jobs at BAE Systems and thousands more in over 400 suppliers across the UK submarine supply chain.”
The fleet of submarines will be based at Faslane in Scotland.
The Astute Class of vessels have greater firepower, state-of-the-art communications equipment and advanced stealth technology, making them quiet and harder to detect, according to the MoD.
Source – BBC News