HMS Vengeance (S31)

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Image of HMS Vengeance returning to HMNB Clyde, after completing Operational Sea Training MOD 45159434.jpg
HMS Vengeance returning to HMNB Clyde in 2007
United Kingdom
NameHMS Vengeance
Laid down1 February 1993
Launched19 September 1998
Commissioned27 November 1999
In service12 February 2001
HomeportHMNB Clyde
MottoSafe by my strength
General characteristics
Class and type Vanguard-class submarine
Displacement15,900 tonnes, submerged
Length149.9 m (491 ft 10 in)
Beam12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
Draught12 m (39 ft 4 in)
SpeedIn excess of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), submerged
RangeOnly limited by food and maintenance requirements.
Sensors and
processing systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • Two SSE Mk10 launchers for Type 2066 and Type 2071 torpedo decoys
  • RESM Racal UAP passive intercept

HMS Vengeance is the fourth and final Vanguard-class submarine of the Royal Navy.[1] Vengeance carries the Trident ballistic missile, the UK's nuclear deterrent.[2][3]

Vengeance was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd, later BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, was launched in September 1998, and commissioned in November 1999.[4]

Before she was commissioned, the British Government stated that once the Vanguard submarines became fully operational, they would only carry 200 warheads.[citation needed]

Vengeance carries unopened "last instructions" (letters of last resort) of the current British Prime Minister that are to be used in the event of a national catastrophe or a nuclear strike; this letter is identical to the letters carried on board the other three submarines of the Vanguard class.[5]

Operational history

On 31 March 2011, while on a training exercise Vengeance suffered a blockage in her propulsor causing a reduction in propulsion. The boat returned to Faslane naval base on the surface under her own power. According to the MOD the problems were not nuclear related.[6]

In 2012, Vengeance started a 40 month refit at HMNB Devonport near Plymouth[7] which refueled her reactor and renewed her machinery and electronics. During that period her sister ship Vigilant took her place in the patrol rotations.[8] She sailed from Devonport on 4 December 2015, her place in refit being taken by Vanguard.[9] Vengeance then went through trials from January 2016 to June 2016 and fired an unarmed D5 missile during her Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) which allowed her to return to the fleet. Whilst the firing of the missile was a success, the missile itself suffered a failure during flight and the test was terminated.[10][11]


See also


  1. Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004–2005. Jane's Information Group Limited. p. 794. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.
  2. "Vanguard class submarine". Royal Navy.
  3. "HMS Vengeance nuclear sub returns home after power loss". BBC News. 3 April 2011.
  4. "The Current British Arsenal". The Nuclear Weapon Archive - A Guide to Nuclear Weapons. 30 April 2001. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
  5. Hennessy, Peter (2007). Cabinets and the Bomb. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-726422-5. Reviewed on "Start the Week". BBC Radio 4. 5 November 2007.
  6. Edwards, Rob (3 April 2011). "Trident sub crippled in accident". The Herald. Glasgow. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011.
  7. "HMS Vengeance: 350m sub refit 'to secure 2,000 jobs'". BBC News. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  8. "Farewell Vengeance, hello Vigilant, as submarines trade places in £600m revamp". Royal Navy. 1 March 2012. Archived from the original on 11 March 2013.
  9. Crowther, Daryl (4 December 2015). "Nuke sub HMS Vengeance leaves Devonport". Combat & Survival. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  10. "No 10 covered up Trident missile fiasco". The Sunday Times. London. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  11. Rosamund, Jon (25 January 2017). "Royal Navy Trident Missile 'Malfunction' Prompts Claims of U.K. Government Cover-Up". USNI News. Retrieved 7 January 2019.

External links