The final shape of the U.K. Royal Navy’s Astute program is becoming clearer: three submarines are in service; three submarines are under construction; and one additional submarine is projected, though its future is uncertain. Additionally, items with long lead times have been ordered. Any hope that an eighth Astute class submarine would be ordered has vanished, and there are growing doubts that the seventh-of-class will be built. The current odds seem to favor the program being held at six submarines, with a new class being designed to make any required force structure enlargements. Continue reading
By Richard Sterk, Forecast International.
The immediate future of Thales Underwater Systems’ Sonar 2076 appears solely linked the U.K. Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarine. The Sonar 2076, or Type 2076, is a fully integrated passive/active search-and-attack sonar suite installed on the Astute class and as part of the midlife update of Trafalgar class submarines. A total of four Sonar 2076 systems have reportedly been produced for Trafalgar class submarines, and seven have been ordered for the first batch of Astute class submarines.