May 21, 2007 A hulking 100 metres long, the Astute is the largest, most heavily armed, stealthiest and most sophisticated submarine ever built for the Royal Navy. The massive nuclear sub, which will never need refuelling in its 25 year service life, is able to circumnavigate the globe underwater, producing its own fresh water and air for the crew - and its range is only really limited by the need for fresh food supplies. From every angle, it is an engineering masterpiece, spoken of as one of the great engineering achievements of all time and more complex than the space shuttle. Britain's Royal Navy is set to launch this new flagship in less than a month.
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