Navy prepares for commissioning of latest nuclear attack submarine

THEY have worked long and hard for the moment – the moment when Astute becomes HMS Astute, the world's most sophisticated attack submarine.

The crew will be resplendent in their "number one" uniforms and the Band of the Royal Marines will play while as many as 500 family members enjoy the day's formalities.

One crew member is 27-year-old Lieutenant Barry McNally, originally from Scarborough and who now lives in Glasgow.

He has been with Astute for three months and joined the Royal Navy in 2006.

The logistics officer has also served on the surface ships HMS Edinburgh and HMS Cornwall.

The commissioning ceremony is to be performed by the submarine's "sponsor", the Duchess of Rothesay, in Astute's home port of HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, west of Glasgow, on Friday.

The Royal Navy says that the Astute class is half as big again as the the fleet's current attack submarines and they will never require refuelling

The technology built into them is more sophisticated than that on current space shuttles and they can be used for close coastal reconnaissance.

Astute's commissioning also sees the start of a process that will see the Clyde base become the Royal Navy's only home for nuclear submarines.