HMS Agamemnon (S124) is the sixth vessel born from the Astute-class of nuclear-powered submarines serving the modern British Royal Navy. The Astute-class originated from a Royal Navy initiative to replace the Cold War-era Trafalgar-class submarines which began service in 1983. The Astute-class is naturally led by HMS Astute (S119) who formally began Royal Navy service in 2010. The ships in the class include HMS Ambush (S120), HMS Artful (S121), HMS Audacious (S122), HMS Anson (S123) and HMS Agamemnon (S124) and will be completed with the arrival of HMS Ajax (S125) sometime in 2024 for a total of seven boats. HMS Agamemnon was ordered in March of 2010 and saw her keel laid down on July 18th, 2013. She is currently (October 2013) under active construction by BAe Systems Submarine Solutions with an expected commissioning date set for sometime in 2022.
All told, Agamemnon will displace at 8,160 tons (Short) (submerged) and feature a length of 318 feet, a beam of 37 feet and a draught of 33 feet. Her full crew complement will number 98 officers and enlisted personnel with additional room aboard to carry mission specialists or guests. Her sensors and processing systems are made up of a collection of advanced suites to include a Thales 2076 sonar, the Atlas DESO 25 series "echosounder" active sonar system, twin Thales CM010 optronic periscope-type masts on the sail and a Raytheon-developed "Successor IFF" (Identification, Friend or Foe) command and control unit.
Externally, the Astute-class carries a distinct and impressive profile with a broad, sloped nose completing a faceted bow. The hull remains the classic tubular submarine shape. Dive planes are fitted forward of the sail and near the upper edges of the hull. The sail is affixed near midships in its elongated form and is home to various retractable optical and sensor systems. The stern is detailed with a cruciform fin arrangement as well as a single propeller assembly shrouded in a noise-reducing cover.
As a nuclear-powered attack submarine, HMS Agamemnon is given a Rolls-Royce brand PWR2 series nuclear reactor that allows for near-infinite underwater endurance - essentially limited to onboard food storage (amounting to three months). The service life of the reactor itself is an estimated 25 years. The propulsion system will also include MTU diesel generators developing 600 kilowatts of additional available power. The configuration will grant Agamemnon a maximum ocean-going speed of 30+ knots in ideal conditions.
With her attack categorization, HMS Agamemnon is appropriately outfitted with 6 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes to counter undersea and surface threats. The vessel will fire the BAE Systems "Spearfish" wire-guided torpedo, a weapon introduced into Royal Navy service in 1992, features a 30 nautical mile range and carries a 660lb warhead through an autonomous active terminal homing sonar guidance kit. The six launch tubes are seated in two sets of three, each at the lower sides of the front hull. The vessel will also support the carrying and launching of the American Raythen BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile (Block IV) against land-based targets as required. Block IV represents an improved version of the original BGM-109C attack missile (TLAM-C) featuring the unitary warhead. In addition to her obvious use in attacking enemy shipping/warships at sea or infrastructure on land, Agamemnon will also serve British special forces elements as called.
HMS Agamemnon (S124) carries the name of King Agamemnon born of Greek mythology. The name has been given to five Royal Navy vessels previously with the first dating back to the 1781 64-gun third-rate tall ship of Battle of Trafalgar fame. The other famous hulk became HMS Agamemnon of 1906, a Lord Nelson-class warship featured in World War 1.