London: A nuclear reactor which can power a small city and guided missiles that can pulverise an enemy more than 1,000 miles away -- meet HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy`s newest killer submarine.
The ‘super-sub` can produce oxygen and drinking water from seawater to keep its 98 crew members alive in time of crisis.
More complex than the US space shuttles and able to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing, Ambush is 291 ft long, the same length as a football pitch, as wide as four double-decker buses and 12 storeys high.
Its nuclear-powered engine can propel her at more than 20 knots, allowing her to travel 500 miles a day, a newspaper reported.
And despite being 50 percent bigger than the Swiftsure and Trafalgar subs it will replace, Ambush is much quieter. Its propellers are the quietest ones, making less noise than a baby dolphin and undetectable to enemy vessels.
Of course, that is if enemy vessels can get near Ambush. The submarine`s sonar and radar are so sensitive that it can detect ships a staggering 3,000 nautical miles away.
It means that if parked in the English Channel, Ambush would know if a ship left the New York harbour. A true titan of the deep, the 1.2-billion-pound warship will be launched at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria Thursday.
A typical patrol lasts 10 weeks, but Ambush could theoretically stay underwater for its entire 25-year lifespan.
HMS Ambush will carry 38 missiles, a mixture of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a range of 1,240 miles, and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes to target other ships and submarines.