The nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant will apparently be spending the holiday season in the USA after damaging a rudder when test-firing a Trident missile in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida on October 23. The sub is reported to have returned to the US naval base at Kings Bay in Georgia, to investigate the damage and undergo repairs. The base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for U.S. Navy Fleet ballistic missile nuclear submarines armed with Trident missile nuclear weapons. HMS Vigilant was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd and commissioned in November 1996. The submarine, which carries Trident ballistic missiles, is the third Vanguard-class submarine of the Royal Navy.
A submariner on Vigilant revealed that the boat’s planned schedule had been disrupted when he complained on Twitter that he was “stuck in the USA for Christmas”. Vigilant was due to return to Scotland to recommence continuous patrols of the oceans after a three-year overhaul…
Last month, Defence Minister Philip Dunne told Parliament that Vigilant had recently completed a major overhaul.
Test-firing the missile was part of a “demonstration and shakedown operation” designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the UK’s nuclear deterrent before the submarine returned to service.
According to the Royal Navy, the overhaul cost more than £300m, took three years and involved refuelling the submarine’s reactor. More that 200 significant upgrades were made to the submarine’s machinery and operating systems.
Thanks to Mike Yared on the Marine Histroy list for passing along the news.