HMS Ambush (S120)

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HMS Ambush long.jpg
Ambush on sea trials, December 2012.
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
NameHMS Ambush
OrderedMarch 1997
BuilderBAE Systems Submarine Solutions
Laid down22 October 2003
Launched6 January 2011[1]
Christened16 December 2010[3]
Commissioned1 March 2013
HomeportHM Naval Base Clyde
IdentificationPennant number: S120
MottoHide And Seek[2]
StatusIn active service
General characteristics
Class and typeAstute-class fleet submarine
  • Surfaced: 7,000 to 7,400 t (7,300 long tons; 8,200 short tons)[4][5]
  • Submerged: 7,400 to 7,800 t (7,700 long tons; 8,600 short tons)[4][5]
Length97 m (318 ft 3 in)[4][5]
Beam11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)[4][5]
Draught10 m (32 ft 10 in)[4][5]
PropulsionRolls-Royce PWR 2 reactor, MTU 600 kilowatt diesel generators
Speed30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph), submerged[4][5]
Endurance90 days[6]
Test depthOver 300 m (984 ft 3 in)
Complement98 (capacity for 109)[4]
Sensors and
processing systems

HMS Ambush is an Astute-class nuclear fleet submarine of the Royal Navy, the second boat of her class. Ambush is the third vessel, and the second submarine, to bear the name in Royal Naval service. She was ordered in 1997, laid down in 2003 and commissioned in 2013.



Ambush's nuclear reactor will not need to be refuelled during the boat's 25-year service. Since the submarine can purify water and air, she will be able to circumnavigate the planet without resurfacing. The main limit is that the submarine will only be able to carry three months' supply of food for 98 officers and ratings.


Ambush has provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes.[8] The submarine is capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres)[9] and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

Construction and commissioning

Ambush was ordered from GEC's Marconi Marine (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions) on 17 March 1997. She was laid down at Barrow-in-Furness on 22 October 2003,[10] officially named on 16 December 2010,[11] launched on 6 January 2011,[1] completed her initial dive test on 30 September 2011,[12] and departed Barrow for sea trials on 15 September 2012.[13] Ambush was commissioned in a ceremony at HM Naval Base Clyde on 1 March 2013.[14]

Operational history

Ambush was scheduled to conduct her maiden operations sometime in 2014.[15] She has already conducted trials, linking up with RFA Diligence.[16] She has also conducted torpedo and Tomahawk cruise missile tests, with early signs showing that they were successful.[17] Ambush sailed down to Brazil in 2014 and also made a port call in Port Canaveral.[18][19] In April 2015, Ambush participated in Exercise Joint Warrior, the largest military exercise held in Europe, alongside 55 other naval ships of NATO navies.[20] She further participated in Exercise Dynamic Manta 15.[21]


On 20 July 2016, while surfacing on an exercise in the Strait of Gibraltar, Ambush was in collision with the Panama flagged merchant ship Andreas, sustaining significant damage to the top of her conning tower where some of her sonar equipment is housed. It was reported that no crew members were injured during the collision and that the submarine's nuclear reactor section remained completely undamaged.[22][23][24][25] Repairs cost £2.1 million and the commander, who was training a group of students at the time, was sentenced to forfeiting a year of seniority for negligently hazarding the vessel.[26]


Ambush is affiliated to:


  1. 1.0 1.1 "BAE Systems Barrow submarine Ambush's maiden voyage". NW Evening Mail. 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  2. "Ambush takes shape". Ministry of Defence. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 December 2009.
  3. "Ambush rollout delay". NW Evening Mail. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Bush, Steve (2014). British Warships and Auxiliaries. Maritime Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 1904459552.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 "Astute-class attack submarines". Royal Navy. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "BAE Systems – Astute class submarines". BAE Systems. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  7. "UK's most powerful submarine joins the Navy". Ministry of Defence. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  8. "Alien submarine breaks technical barriers". BBC News. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  9. "United States Navy Fact File: Tomahawk Land Attack Missile". US Navy. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  10. BAE Systems Investor Brief October 2003
  11. "Navy names new attack submarine". Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  12. "Underwater Tests Mark Ambush Milestone". Northwest Evening Mail. 5 October 2011. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  13. [1] Archived 21 April 2013 at Second Astute Class submarine ready to leave Barrow
  14. "Submarine HMS Ambush commissioned into the Royal Navy". Ministry of Defence. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  15. New Commanding Officer for UKs newest attack submarine,
  16. HMS Ambush links up with support ship,
  17. HMS Ambush action for the first time Archived 12 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine,
  18. Galante, Alexandre (1 August 2014). "Comemorações aos 100 Anos da Força de Submarinos". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  19. "British sub crew visits Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  20. "Dozens of warships join British war games off Scotland". The Telegraph. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  21. "Ambush put to the test on NATO exercise". Royal Navy. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  22. "UK nuclear submarine collides with merchant vessel off Gibraltar". BBC News. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  23. "ROYAL NAVY STATEMENT – 20 July 2016". UK Ministry of Defence. 20 July 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  24. Amy Fenton (7 February 2017). "Barrow-built submarine HMS Ambush still undergoing repairs six months after collision". North West Evening Mail. Barrow-in-Furness. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  25. "Tanker which collided with nuclear submarine HMS AMBUSH identified, probably damaged". Fleetmon. 23 July 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  26. "Nuclear submarine commander 'took eye off ball' before collision". The Guardian. Press Association. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 "HMS Ambush – Affiliations". Royal Navy website. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  28. "Bemrose School visited by Commander Codd". 13 November 2013. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2016.

External links