Royal Navy HMS Vengeance, HMNB Clyde, by POA(Phot) Tam McDonald (Crown)

Royal Navy Marks 50 Years of Continuous at Sea Deterrent

Westminster Abbey Service Marks Anniversary of Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent

A special service at Westminster Abbey, Friday, 3rd May, honoured fifty years of the Royal Navy’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD), the UK’s submarine-borne nuclear deterrent.

Since April 1969, a Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine has patrolled every single day, without interruption, providing the nation’s deterrent and helping keep the UK and our allies safe. Codenamed Operation Relentless, CASD is the UK’s longest sustained military operation ever undertaken.

Operation Relentless has seen generations of submariners from HMS Resolution to HMS Vengeance on constant watch, for every minute of every day for the last five decades.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “For half a century, the Royal Navy has always had at least one ballistic missile submarine at sea on patrol, safeguarding the ultimate guarantor of our country’s security – and that of our NATO allies too. Today, as we pause to reflect on the significance of this 50-year milestone in our proud history of submarine operations, and the national endeavour that underpins it, we are also looking to our future.”

CASD50 provided a chance to not only remember the national endeavour of the past half century but to look to the next-generation of ballistic missile submarines, the Dreadnought class. This will consist of four boats helping to ensure the security of generations to come. The Dreadnought-class are expected to enter service in the early 2030s, helping to maintain Operation Relentless.

Following the sacking of former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over the Huawei – or Hua-oh-why – scandal, his replacement, Penny Mordaunt, put on her best frock to sing the usual platitudes:

We pay tribute to those incredible crews, their supportive families, the Royal Navy and the thousands of industry experts who will continue to sustain this truly national endeavour for many years to come.

Prince William, as Commodore-in-Chief of the submarine service, gave a reading at the event.

Prior to the service at Westminster Abbey, First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, announced that HMS King George VI will now join HMS Dreadnought, Valiant and Warspite as the fourth Dreadnought submarine. HMS King George VI makes history as it will become the first naval vessel to bear that royal title.


Source: MOD

Image: HMS Vengeance on Operation Relentless (Crown Copyright).