Cumbria

Barrow keel-laying ceremony for Astute-class submarine

Work has started in Cumbria on the Royal Navy's fifth Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines.

Defence minister Gerald Howarth took part in a traditional keel-laying ceremony at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow later.

He was standing in for the Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who pulled out citing logistical reasons.

The ceremony marked the unveiling of the first section of the hull of the vessel, which will become HMS Anson.

Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful in the history of the Navy.

At 318ft (97m) in length, they can travel more than 500 miles in a day, allowing them to be deployed anywhere in the world within two weeks.

They can fire Tomahawk missiles as well as carrying out intelligence-gathering missions.

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