Launch of River-class submarine HMS Severn (N57) at Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness on 16th January 1934. She was completed in 1935 and served in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War.
Animals that live, eat, sleep and crap in small enclosure? Yep… submariners 😉
HMS Artful is the second Astute-class submarine to be commissioned into Royal Navy service. Together with HMS Astute, lead boat of the class, she joins the RN’s five Trafalgar class submarines as part of the SSN fleet.
Artful goes nuts over submarine’s new mascot
The crew of Britain’s newest nuclear submarine – officially named today in Barrow today – unveiled the boat’s namesake mascot ahead of the milestone ceremony in the boat’s life.
Artful, a ten-month-old lemur monkey from South Lakes Wild Animal Park, has been adopted by the crew of the £1bn hunter-killer.
You can never have too many pictures of lemur monkeys holding the crest of the £1bn nuclear submarine for which they are named…
This is Artful the Monkey, official mascot of Artful the Submarine, which will be unveiled in a formal ceremony in Barrow tomorrow as the hunter-killer – the third of Britain’s seven Astute-class boats – nears completion.
Ahead of the big day in the boat’s life, a nine-strong team from Artful made the short trip to South Lakes Wild Animal Park to adopt the ten-month-old baby ring-tailed lemur.
The inspiration for the adoption came from the submarine’s crest – although the creature on the boat’s historic symbol, chosen in 1945 by the Admiralty’s advisor on heraldry for the first Artful, is actually an unspecified species of primate.
“Having walked around the wildlife park with my wife last year, I remembered they had little monkeys and thought that adopting one as a mascot would be a good idea,” said 24-year-old Lt Aaron Williams from Bradford.
“We wanted to do something quirky to mark the naming ceremony.
“When I did a little research into the crest, I found out that it was chosen to represent the quality of artfulness, monkeys having the reputation of being clever and resourceful creatures.”
Meanwhile in the wildlife park’s spider monkey enclosure… Knot and rope skills were put to good use as the submariners spruced things up for its inhabitants.
“I love monkeys, but let’s hope they don’t complain about my decorating skills as much as my wife does!” said 33-year-old PO Lee Sinclair from Aberdeen.
As for Artful, well sadly the new mascot will be going nowhere near his boat (monkey + £1bn submarine, what could possibly go wrong?). Animals have been banned from Her Majesty’s ships since the 1970s for reasons of hygiene.
Which is a shame because the RN had a long and unusual history of mascots from the animal kingdom, from Simon the Cat which kept the vermin at bay on HMS Amethyst on the Yangtze; to Barbara the polar bear, rescued as a cub from drifting ice off Greenland and a ship’s mascot until growing too large and re-homed in Portsmouth; and Winnie, another monkey mascot who travelled with Great War torpedo boat HMS Velox.
“We won’t be able to get Artful on board, but the crew will still take an interest in him and no doubt a few of the guys and their families will be visiting the wildlife park in the future to see how he is doing,” said Lt Williams.
As for the submarine, she’s been eight and half years in the making. The naming ceremony today is roughly the equivalent of launching a surface ship (there’s no slipway for submarines, which are inched out of the gigantic Devonshire Dock Hall at BAE’s Barrow yard), including smashing a bottle of champers against the hull in the age-old style.
Building on the extensive trials and tests of her older sisters Astute and Ambush, both of which are due to carry out their first operational patrols in a matter of months, Artful is due to enter service in 2015.
The only previous Artful, sister of HMS Alliance on display in Gosport at the RN Submarine Museum, served for over two decades from the late 1940s until the end of the 1960s, before being broken up.
£1.2 billion of naval hardware held up by a rotting dock. Ladies and gentlemen… broken Britain.
Quay concerns delay launch of navy submarine
Nuclear safety watchdog bars launch of reactor-driven HMS Artful due to doubts about structural integrity of Barrow quay
The nuclear safety watchdog has blocked the launch of the Royal Navy’s newest reactor-driven submarine because of a risk that a dockside could collapse.
The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has barred the launch of HMS Artful, the third of Britain’s Astute-class hunter-killer submarines, because of doubts about the structural integrity of the wet dock quay at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The submarine’s manufacturer, BAE Systems, had previously planned for a launch this year but now says it will be early next year. It said the problem with the dock would not cause further delays.
ONR raised its concerns in its quarterly report on the Barrow shipyard covering April to June 2013. It has ordered BAE Systems, as the site licensee, to investigate and report back on whether the dock was safe to use. “ONR placed a hold point on the launch of the next Astute-class submarine which will only be removed once the licensee can address and justify the continued use of the aging wet dock quay,” the report says.
According to ONR, the quay is used to help commission the Astute-class submarines. “Recent surveys have indicated that there may be some deterioration in its structure,” said an ONR spokeswoman. “As a result, the safety justification for use of this facility is being reviewed by BAE Systems to ensure that it remains valid. Until BAE Systems’ investigations have been completed, ONR cannot say whether there will need to be a major programme of work. However, in the interim, ONR has placed a hold on launch of the next submarine so that we will have to be satisfied that the structure remains fit for purpose.”
In a report about a visit to the Barrow yard by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April, BAE Systems said Artful was due for launch this year. The first two submarines in the much-delayed £9.75bn fleet, HMS Astute and HMS Ambush, are at sea and another four are still being built.
A spokesperson for BAE Systems said: “We do not expect this to delay the launch of the next Astute-class submarine, which is scheduled for early next year. As always, if any work is required to the wet dock quay, safety will be a priority.”
Peter Burt, of the Nuclear Information Service, which monitors military activities, pointed out that much of Britain’s nuclear infrastructure was decades old. “It’s showing its age,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent in secret each year as the Ministry of Defence struggles to bring ageing facilities up to modern safety standards, adding even more to the already enormous costs of the Trident replacement and Astute submarine programmes.”