A rare trip away from Scotland for a nuclear submarine brings it to the Solent

Britain’s most advanced nuclear submarine is due to sail down Southampton Water and through the Solent on Sunday afternoon.

HMS Astute, which arrived in the south-coast port on Wednesday for a five-day visit, her first away from the north-west and Scotland, is scheduled to slip at 3.15pm.

Civic leaders, Sea Cadets, scouts, and school and college parties have been invited on board during her visit for a rare glimpse inside the £1 billion boat. When Astute becomes operational on completion of seatrials she will be capable of circumnavigating the globe without surfacing and will never need refuelling.

Cdr Iain Breckenridge, Astute’s commanding officer, will no doubt be keeping a very close watch on the Solent’s sandbanks when she sails. His predecessor was removed from command after the 7500-tonne boat ran aground on a shingle bank off the Isle of Skye last October.