Royal Navy Dreadnought Nuclear Submarine (Crown Copyright, 2018)

Third Dreadnought Submarine Named

Royal Navy Submarine Will Be Called HMS Warspite

The third submarine in the Royal Navy’s Dreadnought programme will be called HMS Warspite, according to the MOD, February 25th. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement during a visit to Rolls-Royce’s site in Raynesway, Derbyshire, February 25th.

The third Dreadnought will be continuing a fine Navy history. The name Warspite goes back to 1595 and was the last ‘great ship’ to be built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The 29-gun galleon, originally known as Warspight, saw action at Cadiz in 1596; and Warspites fought in both World Wars. Warspite has been carried by seven previous Royal Navy vessels, the last being the UK’s third nuclear submarine, which operated for over 20 years at the height of the Cold War.

Continuing the Continuous-at-Sea Deterrence

The Dreadnought class is the future replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic nuclear missile submarines, carrying Trident II D-5 missiles, to maintain Britain’s Continuous-at-Sea Deterrence, codename Operation Relentless, now in its fiftieth year. The MOD expects the submarines to enter service in the early 2030s, for a cost of £31 billion.

Since the Strategic Defence Review (SDR), the UK has maintained a stockpile of around 215 warheads, of which about 120 are active. Under the Continuous-at-Sea Deterrence policy, at least one Vanguard-class SSBN is kept on patrol with up to 16 Trident missiles sharing a maximum of 48 warheads from the stockpile at any given time. This was the minimum number of warheads considered sufficient for deterrence, according to the SDR.

The three Dreadnought-class submarines are HMS Dreadnought, HMS Valiant and HMS Warpsite. The first, HMS Dreadnought, was laid down on 6 October 2016.

Source: MOD

Image: artist’s impression of the new DREADNOUGHT CLASS. The Dreadnought class of ballistic submarines for the Royal Navy is now being built. Successor was the name for the programme of delivering these submarines for the Royal Navy until the first boat was named in October 2016. This is the enduring commitment of the Navy’s dedication to continuous at sea deterrence (CASD) since April 1969. Copyright BAE Systems.