By Gavin Carr

ROYAL NAVY Fleet submarine HMS Astute returned to her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde just before Christmas following a successful deployment with the Carrier Strike Group.

The submarine – which is one of four Astute Class boats currently in-service – was 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: “HMS Astute has returned to her home port on the Clyde.  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 together 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. 

Top secret Astute was the final Royal Navy vessel to return to the UK before Christmas.

The Carrier Strike Group deployment was a milestone in the development of UK Carrier Strike, providing an invaluable opportunity to gain further experience in operating the Lightning – F-35B – 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.

The other task group vessels, including HMS Queen Elizabeth, returned to their home ports on December 9, while frigate HMS Kent and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Fort Victoria were slightly later, getting back home on December 10 and 12 respectively.

Astute was the final returner from the Carrier Strike Group, coming alongside the Home of the UK Submarine Service – HMNB Clyde at Faslane on the Gareloch and Coulport on Loch Long.

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