The Royal Navy’s submarine service achieved a major milestone recently as a Vanguard submarine completed the country’s 350th deterrent patrol.
As the country’s ultimate weapon, submarine operations and movements are kept a closely guarded secret, but the ‘Silent Service’ has temporarily broken its silence to reveal the significant achievement.
“Our nuclear submarines are among the most complex machines ever built and ensuring that one is at sea continuously is a huge challenge,” said Rear Admiral John Weale OBE, Head of the UK Submarine Service.
“That the Royal Navy has completed 350 deterrent patrols without once breaking the chain is simply a momentous achievement.
Continuous submarine patrolling began in April 1969 with the Royal Navy’s submarines taking primary responsibility for the UK’s national strategic deterrent. Since then at least one Royal Navy ballistic submarine has been on patrol in the world’s oceans, ensuring a continuous at sea deterrent.
Today the four Vanguard class submarines uphold the mission and between them have never missed a single day on patrol.
Although the name of the submarine and the date it completed the 350th patrol have not been revealed, the achievement was formally recognised back in September when NATO’s North Atlantic Council visited HM naval base Clyde along with the UK defense secretary.
The UK Government is investing £1.3 Billion over the next 10 years to update and upgrade its engineering and training facilities in preparation for the new Dreadnought class of submarines.
The design and construction of the Dreadnought class of four ballistic missile submarines is one of the largest and most complex programs that the MOD and UK industry has undertaken.