The four Vanguard-class submarines – the Royal Navy's 'bombers' – form the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent force. Each for the four boats has 16 missile tubes and is armed with Trident 2 D5 nuclear missiles; each missile is capable of delivering up to 12 warheads more than 4,000 miles with an accuracy measured in metres. Based at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland, the submarines are deceptively big – almost the same length as the flight deck of HMS Illustrious – and like all RN submarines are steam-powered, their reactors converting water into steam to drive the engines and generate electricity.
- Displacement (Dived)
- Displacement (Surfaced)
- Top Speed
HMS Vanguard was the first of the four submarines of her class to be launched, on 4 March 1992 at Barrow. As the name-ship of the class she continued to lead the way, carrying out the first Trident missile test firing in May 1994 and the first operational deterrent patrol in early 1995. She was also the first to undergo her major mid-life refit, from 2002 to 2004, during which she was fitted with the new Core H reactor core, which will provide the power to see her through the rest of her service life.
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