The Royal VIP is to conduct the commissioning ceremony for HMS Astute which shipyard workers on the Clyde helped build after being bused down to Barrow-in-Furness.
The submarine is the first in a fleet of six to be constructed by defence giant BAE Systems at its yard in Cumbria.
One of the yard’s former managing directors was Murray Easton, a boss for six years in the 1990s at Yarrow’s in Scotstoun and whose father, Sir Robert, also ran the Clyde yard.
The Clyde connection prompted Sir Robert’s son to secure a deal which allowed an exchange of workers between Glasgow and the North of England.
The agreement operated between 2000 and 2005 and avoided the need by BAE chiefs, who owned all three yards, to lay off workers whenever there was a dip in production.
Up to 200 skilled Clydeside tradesmen, including electricians and plumbers, were driven to Cumbria to work on HMS Astute for up to three months. A number of workers eventually moved their families to Barrow-in-Furness and the surrounding area.
Jim Moohan, chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, said: “We had workers moving in both directions even though submarines and destroyers are completely different animals.
“But it underlined how tradesmen on Clydeside had the skills, aptitude and the flexibility to work on warships and submarines which avoided the usual scenario of major job losses during the hard times.”
While the Clyde yards have been making some of the world’s most advanced warships in recent years -- the Type 45 destroyers -- they also helped build the biggest and most powerful submarine ever produced in Britain.
HMS Astute is one-and-half times the size of the existing subs and will replace the ageing Trafalgar submarines.
When under water HMS Astute is undetectable, despite being 97 metres long -- longer than an SPL football pitch -- and, at 11.2 metres, the width of four double-decker buses.
HMS Astute is powered by a nuclear reactor and will never refuel during its 25-year operational lifespan.
Britain’s new generation of hunter attack subs will not carry nuclear missiles but will have 38 Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.
It’s designed to destroy enemy submarines and land-based targets.
And it’s the first British submarine not to have a traditional periscope. Instead it has sophisticated electro-optics -- made by Thales optronics plant in Govan -- which produce 360degree images of the surface.
HMS Astute is also the first attack submarine to have a bunk for each of its 98 crew, while its cabling and pipework could stretch from Glasgow to Dundee. It is the only submarine which has sonar with a range of 3000 nautical miles.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said: “The Astute Class is truly next generation. This is an important milestone along the road to full operational capability which will follow after a further series of demanding seagoing trials.”
Rear Admiral Simon Lister is overseeing the build on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.
He said: “To my mind Astute is a 7000-tonne Swiss watch. There is an extraordinary amount of expertise that goes into putting one of these submarines together. There are stages when it’s like blacksmithing and there are stages when it’s like brain surgery.
“So to see Astute commissioned is momentous not only for the Royal Navy but for the thousands of people involved in the most challenging of engineering projects.”
HMS Astute will have further trials before becoming operational. Faslane will be Britain’s only submarine base from 2016, providing job security to 7000 workers and 4000 support jobs in the Helensburgh area until at least 2035.