Prince William was diving beneath the waves this week rather than flying above them as he visited HMS Artful, the Navy’s latest attack submarine. He was there in his role as Commodore-in-Chief Submarines to present “dolphins” to fourteen of the crew. These new crew members are now fully qualified submariners after they had proved their intimate and instinctive knowledge of over 30 complex engineering systems.
These systems on the nuclear submarines ensure the vessels work to peak levels of performance in a safe environment for the crews, in many waters across the world. The sailors had to prove their skills in both classroom and sea-based exercises as HMS Artful completed its own sea trials in the Western Atlantic before returning to the Clyde. Finally, the candidates had to prove their knowledge before and examination board.
During his visit, as well as completing his first dive, the Duke of Cambridge toured the boat covering everything from the forward escape compartment to the manoeuvring room where all the complex systems with the submarine are managed. The actual presentation of the awards to the new fourteen submariners was completed in the “Bomb Shop”, this is where the armaments of the vessel, the torpedoes and tomahawk missiles are stored.
In addition to meeting the new submariners, Prince William was also able to meet other members of the submarine crew in the galley, their bunk spaces and also in the control room. The Astute class of submarine, of which this is the third vessel are the most advanced and powerful attack submarines that the Royal Navy has operated and are packed with the latest state of the art sensors, design and weaponry.
This is yet another opportunity of proving the engineering excellence and career opportunities in England like the Prince’s forthcoming trip to Portsmouth and the LandRover BAR team who are attempting to win the America’s Cup. HMS Artful and her sister ships, HMS Astute & HMS Ambush were built in Barrow in Furness. Two further ships HMS Audacious and HMS Anson are being constructed with others planned.