HMS Vanguard at Devonport

Critical Royal Navy submarine refit running late

The oldest of the Royal Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, HMS Vanguard is currently in Devonport undergoing major refit and refuelling. There are strong indications the project is in trouble and she will be unable to return to service at the start of 2020 as originally scheduled, with knock-on effects for the 3 remaining boats that maintain the nuclear deterrent.

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Royal Navy Vanguard class submarine

Trouble ahead for the UK nuclear programme?

Yesterday the Nuclear Information Service published their report “Trouble ahead risks and rising Costs in the UK nuclear weapons programme”. This is a brief response to some of the points and recommendations made in the report.

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HMS Astute Submarine Dry Deck Shelter

In focus: Royal Navy submarine special forces delivery systems

The Astute class submarines were designed from the outset to be fitted with a Dry Deck Shelter (DDS) which significantly enhances their ability to covertly deliver special forces. Using unclassified public domain sources, here we examine the history, design and operation of the DDS in RN service.

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Royal Navy celebrates 50 years of continuous at sea deterrent patrols

2019 is a landmark year in the history of the Royal Navy. For fifty years submarines have conducted Operation Relentless, carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent to sea. To mark the achievement a series of high-profile public events will be held this year.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth F-35

A year in review – the Royal Navy in 2018

In broad terms, 2018 was a positive year for the naval service, in many ways an improvement on 2017. The navy has been able to deliver a higher operational tempo than last year and despite initial indications to the contrary, has escaped further cuts.

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Why do peacetime naval accidents keep happening?

2017 was an especially bad year for fatal naval accidents. Then last week the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad collided with an oil tanker and is was run onto rocks in a vain attempt to prevent her sinking. There have always been serious accidents involving warships and submarines during peacetime operations but with the advent of modern navigation technologies, there is some surprise that these incidents keep happening. Here we look briefly at the circumstances of some of the accidents and what might be learned from them.

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A relief for the submarine service – HMS Victorious does not need nuclear refuelling

In March 2014 the MoD admitted there was a minor concern about the integrity of the nuclear reactors which power Vanguard class submarines. As a precaution, HMS Vanguard currently in refit at Devonport has been given a second new reactor core. This week the government quietly announced that technical assessments have now concluded this procedure will not be necessary for the other three boats.  

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