The sophistication of the British Nuclear Submarine

British Nuclear Submarine
British Nuclear Submarine
Militarymedia.net - Britain has a fleet of four ballistic missile submarines with the capability to destroy even the largest country. This fleet emerged after its ally, the United States, canceled the main weapons system that would form the basis of Britain's nuclear arsenal. Fifty years later, Britain's missile submarine force is the country's only nuclear weapon, constantly preventing nuclear attacks.

Britain's nuclear power in the early 1960s relied on the so-called "V-Force" strategic bombers: Avro Vulcan, Handley Page Victor, and Vickers Valiant. The bombers were equipped with the Skybolt air-launched ballistic missiles, which could penetrate Soviet defenses at speeds of up to Mach 12.4 (9,500 miles per hour). Unfortunately, technical problems hit Skybolt, and the US government canceled the missile in 1962.

The cancellation of Skybolt threatens to cancel Britain's entire nuclear deterrent, and the two nations are racing to find a solution. The United States agreed to offer a new ballistic missile launched by the submarine Polaris to replace Skybolt. Great Britain didn't have a missile submarine to carry Polaris, they had to build one.

The Defense Ministry concluded Britain would need at least five ballistic missile submarines to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent posture. This number was later reduced to four submarines. Like the French Le Redoutable class, the submarines will closely resemble the US Navy's Lafayette-class ballistic missile submarines.

However, unlike Lafayette and Le Redoutable, the new submarines of the Royal Navy Resolution class will have a hydroplane on the bow, with the ability to fold when parked along the docks.

Most of the submarines belonged to the British, with two built by Vickers Armstrong in Furness and two by Cammel Laird at Birkenhead. Missiles, missile launch tubes, and fire control mechanisms, however, are built in the United States. Each submarine is equipped with 16 ballistic missiles launched by the Polaris A-3 submarine. Polaris has a range of 2,500 miles and was initially equipped with a single British warhead. The fix for the missile, the Polaris A-3TK, includes the replacement of the single warhead with two Chevaline warheads and penetration aids.

The first submarine, the HMS Resolution, was deployed in 1964 and commissioned in 1967, followed by Repulse and Renown, commissioned in 1968, and Revenge, which was named in 1969. Resolution first successfully launched a missile off the coast of Florida in February 1968.
British Nuclear Submarine
British Nuclear Submarine
In the early 1980s, the Resolution class needed to be replaced. Despite the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of the Soviet threat, the British remained steadfast and built all four ships. Britain again decided to build its own submarines and equip them with American missiles. The result is four Vanguard class submarines: Vanguard (commissioned in 1993), Victorious (1995), Vigilant (1996) and Vengeance (1999). Vanguard launched its first Trident II missile in 1994, and made its first operational patrol in 1995.

At 15,000 tonnes, Vanguards are twice the size of the previous Resolution class. Although each submarine has 16 launch tubes, the decision was made in 2010 to load each submarine with only eight American-launched Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles.

The Trident II D-5 has a range of 4,600 miles, meaning it can strike targets throughout Russia's Europe with ease. Each D-5 carries eight independently targetable 100 kiloton warheads, giving each submarine a total of 6.4 megatons of nuclear weapons.

The crew of British missile submarines, like their American counterparts, maintain a crew of two per boat to increase vessel availability. Under a program known as Continuous At Sea Deterrence (CASD) at least one submarine began patrolling, with another out of patrol, a third getting ready to patrol, and a fourth undergoing maintenance. According to the Royal Navy, the CASD has not missed a single day in the past 48 years without a submarine on patrol.

In 2016, the Ministry of Defense announced the next generation of Dreadnought class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, dubbed the Successor. The Royal Navy will build four Dreadnought class submarines, each weighing 17,200 tonnes, with construction starting in September 2016.
British Nuclear Submarine
British Nuclear Submarine
Each will have twelve missile tubes instead of 16, and the submarine will use the Trident II D-5 missiles from its predecessor. The Dreadnought vessels are expected to enter service in the 2030s and have a life cycle of 30 years. The ministry expects the new submarines will cost about US $ 39 billion over 35 years. The introduction of the third generation Dreadnought class will provide Britain with a strong strategic deterrent into the 2060s and possibly beyond.

At one time, at least 64 British nuclear weapons were somewhere in the sea, ready to launch within minutes of the alert. While not as powerful as the US strategic deterrent, nuclear weapons are more than sufficient to deter an opponent from launching a surprise attack. The British Royal Navy's ballistic missile submarines have been on a centuries-old mission to protect the country from the sea.


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