Due to be launched this week, she is one of seven new Astute-class submarines for the Royal Navy, each costing over £1 billion - and they'll be the biggest and most powerful submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, as well as the most advanced submarines in the world.
The seven new subs are to replace five Swiftsure-class submarines (Sovereign, Superb, Sceptre, Spartan, and Splendid) and the two oldest Trafalgar-class boats (Trafalgar and Turbulent).
HMS Ambush's nuclear reactor could power a city the size of Southampton and her fearsome armoury includes Tomahawk guided missiles which can destroy an enemy 1,000 miles away.
She'll also be extremely quiet - she'll make less noise than a baby dolphin - which will make her almost undetectable to enemy warships, allowing her to sneak up on them and blow them out of the water.
The submarine’s sonar and radar are so sensitive that she can detect ships a staggering 3,000 nautical miles away, meaning she can detect ships in New York harbour whilst she is in the English Channel, which might come in handy should the US and Britain ever go to war with each other again.
The size of a football pitch, it'll be possible for her to stay continuously under water for 25 years
Ambush will be launched on Thursday at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria where she has been built.
HMS Ambush will be the second of the seven new Astute-class subs to be launched. HMS Astute was launched in 2007. Under construction are HMS Artful, HMS Audacious and HMS Agamemnon. HMS Anson and HMS Ajax are also to be built.
Britain has more submarines than any other European country except Russia.
Set to launch, our nuclear Leviathan: The enormous scale of the biggest submarine ever built in Britain
By Daily Mail Reporter
14th December 2010
Her nuclear reactor could power a city the size of Southampton, she will never need refuelling and she can use her guided missiles to pulverise an enemy more than 1,000 miles away.
Meet HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy’s newest hunter-killer submarine. The ‘super-sub’ is able to make oxygen and fresh water from seawater, to keep the 98 crew — it has not yet been decided if this will include women — alive in time of crisis.
And, despite being 50 per cent bigger than the Swiftsure and Trafalgar subs she will replace, Ambush is quieter. Her propellers are said to make less noise than a baby dolphin — making her virtually undetectable to enemy vessels.
Titan: Two shipyard workers (bottom left) at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, show the enormous scale of HMS Ambush, which is launched this week
Of course, that is if enemy vessels can get near her. The submarine’s sonar and radar are so sensitive that she can detect ships a staggering 3,000 nautical miles away.
It means that if she was sitting in the English Channel she would know if a ship left New York's harbour. A true titan of the deep, the £1.2billion warship will be launched at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria on Thursday.
But naval chiefs will nervously hope the newly-named craft will not suffer the same catalogue of disasters that has recently befallen her sister vessel, HMS Astute. Astute’s captain, Commander Andy Coles, was relieved of his duties after the submarine ran aground on a sandbank off the Isle of Skye in October.
During the rescue, a tug collided with the sub, causing £7million of damage. Last week, she limped back to her home port of Faslane, 25 miles west of Glasgow, after a mechanical failure at sea.
Ambush will be unveiled and officially named by Lady Anne Soar, the wife of the Royal Navy’s Commander in Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar.
The first military submarine was the Turtle, a hand-powered egg-shaped device built to accommodate one person, built in 1775 by American David Bushnell. On 7th September 1776 during the American War of Independence, the Turtle, operated by Sgt. Ezra Lee of the Continental Army, tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the blockaders in New York harbour.
After the ceremony, the awesome 7,400-tonne sub will be wheeled from her shed and lowered into the wet dock for further outfitting and testing. And having come in massively over-budget and five years late, the Navy is expecting nothing less than a top-of-the-range vessel.
More complex than the U.S. Space Shuttles and able to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing, Ambush is 291ft long — the same length as a football pitch — as wide as four double-decker buses and 12 storeys high. A typical patrol lasts ten weeks, but she could theoretically stay underwater for her entire 25-year lifespan.
HMS Ambush will carry 38 missiles — a mixture of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a range of 1,240 miles, and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes to target other ships and submarines.
Her nuclear-powered engine will propel her through the water at more than 20 knots, allowing her to travel 500 miles a day.
BAE Systems is building seven Astute-class subs.