HMS Churchill (S46)

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HMS Churchill (S46) nuclear submarine at sea
RN EnsignUnited Kingdom
NameHMS Churchill
NamesakeWinston Churchill
Ordered21 October 1965
Laid down30 June 1967
Launched20 December 1968
Commissioned15 July 1970
Decommissioned28 February 1991
FateAwaiting disposal
General characteristics
Class and type Churchill-class submarine
Displacement4,900 tonnes (4,823 long tons) submerged
Length86.9 m (285 ft 1 in)
Beam10.1 m (33 ft 2 in)
Draught8.2 m (26 ft 11 in)
Propulsion1 Rolls-Royce PWR nuclear reactor, 1 shaft
Speed28 knots (32 mph; 52 km/h) submerged

HMS Churchill was the first of three Churchill-class submarine nuclear fleet submarines that served with the Royal Navy.


Churchill, the Royal Navy's fourth nuclear-powered fleet submarine was ordered on 21 October 1965, and was laid down at Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited (VSEL)'s Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on 30 June 1967. The submarine was launched by Mary Soames, Winston Churchill's youngest daughter, on 20 December 1968 and commissioned on 15 July 1970.[1][2]


Churchill was chosen to trial the first full-size submarine pump jet propulsion. Trials of a high-speed unit were followed by further trials with a low-speed unit, and these were successful enough for the same propulsion to be fitted in the rest of the class.[3] Later British submarine classes also featured the pump jet, although first-of-class vessels Swiftsure and Trafalgar were fitted with propellers at build.


  1. Blackman 1971, p. 336.
  2. Hillbeck, Ian W. (1997). "Boat Database: Churchill (S46)". Submariner's Associated: Barrow-in-Furness Branch. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. Bud, Robert; Gummett, Philip (2002). Cold war, hot science: applied research in Britain's defence laboratories, 1945-1990. NMSI Trading Ltd. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-900747-47-9.
  • Blackman, Raymond V. B., ed. (1971). Jane's Fighting Ships 1971–72. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd. ISBN 0-354-00096-9.

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