Nuclear submarine Audacious rolled out from Barrow shipyard

Audacious Image copyright PA
Image caption The submarine cost about £1.4bn to build

The Royal Navy's newest nuclear submarine has been rolled out of its dockyard in west Cumbria.

The 7,400-tonne Audacious, which is capable of firing Tomahawk missiles, was built at BAE System's site in Barrow at a cost of about £1.4bn.

The 320ft (97m) long Astute-class vessel will now undergo preliminary tests ahead of sea trials next year.

Three other Astute-class submarines are at different stages of construction at the Barrow yard.

Image copyright PA
Image caption BAE's Barrow yard is one of the largest of its kind in Europe

The submarine, which will be one of a fleet of seven, is also armed with Spearfish torpedoes, fitted with the latest sonar capability and powered by a nuclear reactor.

The Astute-class are the largest and most advanced attack submarines operated by the Royal Navy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The vessel is one of four being built at BAE in Barrow

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "Ahead of Audacious, HMS Astute, Ambush and Artful are already contributing to operations and are well placed to protect both the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and the Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

"The nuclear submarine remains the hallmark of a first-rate maritime power. Audacious, and the men and women of the Royal Navy submarine service, will give the UK a decisive advantage for decades to come."

Image copyright PA
Image caption After initial testing in Barrow, the submarine will go out for sea trials

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