|Fully loaded, the submarine can hold 38 Tomahawk missiles |
and 18,000 sausages (Picture: BAE Systems)
If the world ever descends into nuclear war, or indeed if this autumn’s spider plague gets REALLY out of control, the last survivors of the human race may well be on board one of BAE Systems Astute class submarines, the third of which completed an important test dive today.
HMS Artful can stay underwater for up to 25 years without surfacing – its nuclear reactor only needs serviced once per quarter-century, and the submarine can produce breathable air and water from the sea around it.
The crew just have to remember to pack a LOT of DVD box sets.
The 320-foot, 7,400-tonne sub, made by British defence firm BAE Systems, displaces as much water as 65 blue whales, and can circumnavigate the world without surfacing.
It has to surface once every three months, largely to load its hold with sausages.
On average, each crew member eats three sausages a day. For 25 years. Think about that.
What would the hunter-killer submarine’s crew Do for 25 years if the worst came to the worst? The answer seems to be, ‘Eat a lot of sausages and Weetabix.’
During a 10-week operation, Artful’s crew will consume 18,000 sausages and 4,200 Weetabix, provided they haven’t mutinied over their unimaginative diet.
It is unclear what would happen if no more supplies of sausages were to be found on the surface.
This operation, known as the ‘trim and incline test’, took place over two days, to prove the submarine’s safety and stability in the water. The maiden dive was undertaken in the dock on BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness and involved a team of 80 highly-skilled personnel, including naval architects, engineers and Royal Navy crew members.
Even if Britain has been reduced to an irradiated – or spider-infested – wasteland, Adrift will be able to ensure that the crew has the last, morbid laugh.
Its Tomahawk cruise missiles can strike targets up to 700 miles away with pinpoint accuracy.
Britain’s enemies won’t even be able to retaliate by smashing Arful’s periscope as it pokes above water – it doesn’t have one.
Instead, electronic instruments pop up into the destroyed world to have a look around, relaying information to the crew via fibre optic cable.
A sophisticated sonar system – Sonar 2076 – has the processing power of 2,000 laptops, equipping it with the ‘most powerful eyes and ears’ of any submarine in service today.
Today’s test allowed the crew to test the sonar, navigation and optical systems for the first time.
Artful is the third Astute class submarine to launch – with four more in the pipeline.