Published Resources Details Journal Article

Willet, L.
The Astute-class submarine, capabilities and challenges
RUSI Defence Systems
vol. 7, no. 1, 38231, pp. 56-60

Accession No.1629


"The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD0 and the Royal Navy are taking a robust approach to developing the future of the SSN flotilla. The drive to improve future underwater capabilities, to increase the SSN's relevance to military operations and to confront major challenges is reflected clearly in the development of the Astute-class SSN programme… The MoD work also concludes that future strategic challenges will predicate a greater requirement for the SSN's inherent qualities - known as the "seven deadly virtues" - of flexibility, mobility, endurance, reach, autonomy, stealth and punch. Coupled with the SSN's speed and firepower, these qualities generate - in one multi-dimensional, modular unit - balanced, integrated, multi-mission capabilities and roles, which the SSN can swing between to deliver a variety of effects across the spectrum of operations. While the broad capability requirements for Astute have been determined, the MoD's capabilities approach to the equipment plan for delivering integrated underwater effect beyond Astute is designed around improving land attack options; stealth capabilities; uninhabited vehicle options (systems which could amalgamate a range of sensor, communications and weapons capabilities): and improved communications systems to increase the SSN's contribution to integrated, time-critical strike ashore… However, as MoD operational analysis continues to underscore the need for rapid, covert deployment, the advantages brought about by the seven deadly virtues of a nuclear submarine - whether that be a SSN or a generic hull - will be hard to relace." Accession No.1628. Willett, L. 'Astute, Trident and SSN: Land attack for the Royal Navy Submarine Service.' RUSI Defence Systems, vol. 8, No. 1, Summer 2005, pp. 103-107. "The future underwater battle space will need to provide a raft of capabilities able to meet different roles and deliver different effects. It is clear that affordability of future capabilities presents a major challenge for the MoD, and for the Royal Navy as they look to exploit the unique virtues of the underwater battle space in delivering effect in support of the defence mission. However, one conclusion (amongst, clearly many) surrounding the implications of declining force levels, a limited inventory in an expensive hull, the costs of nuclear ownership and the affordability of two new classes of nuclear-powered submarine is that a generic hull with modular payloads might serve to minimise costs while maximising capability and in particular, value for money. Perhaps the real challenge for the Royal Navy Submarine Service, however, is the very nature of its job, being unable to talk much about operations about which little is understood. Yet, the underwater battle space is an environment from which effect can be delivered which is unique, and which is important in both political and military terms. Morever, in the contemporary and perceived future environments, the flexibility and firepower in nuclear-powered submarine clearly fit the bill when it comes to delivering effect and value for money."