Britain’s most advanced attack submarine HMS Ambush has officially joined the Royal Navy fleet following a ceremony.
Head of the Navy Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope attended the service at Faslane naval base on the Clyde where the 7,400-tonne sub was granted her official title.
HMS Ambush, the second of the Navy’s Astute-class attack submarines, was launched in January 2011 at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The nuclear-powered submarine arrived at her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde in September last year where she has been undergoing sea trials before entering operational service later this year.
The 97-metre Astute-class submarines are designed for coastal and deep sea tasks and are capable of destroying submarines and surface ships.
HMS Ambush Commanding Officer Peter Green said: “The crew are immensely proud to mark the commissioning and to see the culmination of many months of hard work readying HMS Ambush for service with the Royal Navy.
“The crew are looking forward to the challenges ahead and to exploring the full range of the submarine’s capabilities before she enters full operational service later this year.”
The vessel’s sponsor, Lady Anne Soar, spoke with naval officers during the hour-long ceremony held in bright sunshine.
Around 500 invited guests, among them relatives of the HMS Ambush crew, sang hymns and listened as prayers were read.
Commander Green called on the boat’s company to bless the submarine, and the naval men and women turned to face the vessel as God Save The Queen was played by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Scotland.
The tradition of the commissioning ceremony dates to the time when Britain had no standing navy. Any merchant ship sailing under the English flag could be called upon to fight. Henry VIII was the first monarch to provide a permanent fleet of ships and these were commissioned as they entered service.
All seven of the Astute-class submarines will eventually be based on the Clyde.
HMS Astute entered service in August 2010. The others are Artful, Audacious, Anson, and two are as yet unnamed.
Admiral Stanhope, known as the First Sea Lord, said: “These vessels represent the cutting edge of military technology and the future of UK submarine operations for many years to come. The Astute-class vessels will contribute significantly to our mission of protecting the UK’s interests worldwide.”
Commander Green, 47, was previously in charge of HMS Trafalgar. The married father-of-three, who lives in Lancaster and who has been in the Navy for 30 years, said it is a privilege to be part of HMS Ambush.
“I have a remarkable crew who work very hard for me and have delivered some very impressive results over the last 12 months. We’ve still got some more sea tests to do and we’ll be returning to sea within the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Lieutenant Jason McEvoy, 40, deputy weapon engineer officer on Ambush, said he is proud to be part of what he described as a historic occasion.
Describing submarine life, the father-of-two from Dunfermline said: “You can imagine it’s quite confined but we’re that busy down there either watch-keeping or sleeping or just working away. Time goes quite quickly. You just get on with it.”