Royal Navy submarine HMS Astute became the final member of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group deployment to return home as it arrived at HM Naval Base Clyde.
The submarine, which is one of four Astute Class boats currently in-service, was also the final Royal Navy vessel to return to the UK before Christmas.
Speaking during the submarine’s return, Commodore Jim Perks, Head of the Royal Navy Submarine Service, said:
“Despite the challenges of deploying during a global pandemic, Astute has demonstrated the flexibility and reach that a submarine can bring. Her ship’s company can be justifiably proud of what they have achieved.”
During her deployment with the Carrier Strike Group, HMS Astute also visited Australia to help further cement links between the two nations following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement in September.
The trilateral agreement – between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States – will see the nations work to deepen cooperation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific. The first step will be to determine the optimum path for the provision of a flotilla of nuclear-powered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.
The Carrier Strike Group deployment was a milestone in the development of UK Carrier Strike, providing an opportunity to gain further experience in operating the F-35 Lightning fighter jet from the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.
HMS Queen Elizabeth was protected by a ring of escort warships during operations, with HMS Astute providing an undersea defence against other submarines.