HMS Vigilant (S30)

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HMS Vigilant MOD 45157568.jpg
Returning from patrol April 2014
United Kingdom
NameHMS Vigilant
Laid down16 February 1991
Launched14 October 1995
Commissioned2 November 1996
HomeportHMNB Clyde
StatusIn active service
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 Vigilant is the third Vanguard-class submarine of the Royal Navy.[1] Vigilant carries the Trident ballistic missile, the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent.[2]


Vigilant was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, was launched in October 1995, and commissioned in November 1996.

Letter of last resort

Peter Hennessy visited Vigilant for the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 in 2007. He reported that there is a grey safe in the control room that has an inner safe that only the commanding officer and executive officer can open. In that safe is a letter from the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the letter of last resort, which contains guidance and orders to be followed should the United Kingdom be attacked with nuclear weapons. This letter is identical to the other three letters in similar safes on the other three Vanguard class submarines carrying the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent.

Operational history

In 2002, protestors from Trident Ploughshares breached security at Faslane Naval Base where the Vanguard-class submarines are based. Two protestors managed to spray paint Vigilant with the CND symbol and the word "Vile".

Vigilant arrived at Devonport on 11 October 2008 for a major refit.[3] Vigilant returned to the fleet on 27 March 2012 after her £300m refit.[4][5] In 2013, she test fired her main weapon, a firing of the Trident D5 after three years.[6] Vigilant returned from a patrol on 23 December 2016 before Christmas.[7]

In October 2017, it was revealed that the vessel's captain had been relieved of his command following allegations of an "inappropriate relationship" with a female crew member.[8] Along with the captain, his executive officer was also removed from his post amid allegations of an improper relationship with a different female crew member.[9] Later that month, it was reported that nine crew members had been dismissed for misusing cocaine.[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 Vigilant Arrives in Devonport for Major Refit". Royal Navy. 13 October 2008. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  4. "HMS Vigilant SSBN in for GBP 300 million refit". Defense Industry Daily. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  5. "HMS Vigilant: Torpoint Ferry suspended for submarine departure". BBC News. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  6. "Vigilant crew honoured for work leading to successful missile test firing". Royal Navy. 5 June 2013.
  7. "Royal Navy submarine returns home in time for Christmas". Royal Navy. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  8. "Nuclear submarine captain relieved of command". BBC News. 2 October 2017.
  9. Farmer, Ben (6 October 2017). "Second officer removed for alleged improper relationship with female colleague on scandal-hit submarine". The Daily Telegraph.
  10. "Nine British servicemen removed from HMS Vigilant after testing positive for cocaine". The Telegraph. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  11. "HMS Vigilant: Nine sailors fired after failing drugs tests". BBC News. 28 October 2017.

External links