The HMS Astute is a nuclear-powered submarine in the Royal Navy. It is an outstanding achievement of modern engineering. Her builders BAE systems boast that it is “the largest and most able attack submarine that the Royal Navy has operated, with a performance to rival any in the world”. HMS Astute was launched on 8th June 2007. The submarine is 323 feet long has a beam of 37 feet and a draught of 33 feet. It also weighs 7400 tonnes. She is capable of hitting 29 knots (54 kph) and has a crew of 98. The HMS Astute is nuclear powered and its power-plant never needs refueling and the limitation for time away from port comes down to the supply of food on board. Her service life is 25 years.
The HMS Astute is capable of destroying other ships and submarines with torpedo’s as well as launching her Raytheon Tomahawk Block III land-attack cruise missiles. These missiles utilize high explosive warheads and do not use nuclear warheads. The Tomahawks can fly 2,500 km at 880 kph. This makes the HMS Astute a formidable weapon.
This is the first in a series of photorealist paintings featuring the Astute class for the artist. The paintings represent a dichotomy for the artist. On the one hand Bert is making a ‘statement’ saying ‘look at this magnificent piece of engineering. It is a thing of brutal beauty, engineered to the highest standards’. And yet is a weapon of war, something designed to kill thousands of people. As somebody who advocates non-violence, and is highly critical of war, Bert also recognizes the right for a nation to defend itself. This means designing, building and using such potent weapons. This photorealistic rendition is truly a dichotomous piece of art.
Photo by Christopher Morgan-Jones.
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