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equipment / Submarine
vanguard class
equipment / Submarine

vanguard class

Guardian of our nuclear deterrent. Armed with Trident 2 D5 missiles and cutting-edge steam technology they ensure our ultimate defense.

Vanguard Class submarine

HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde under the Scottish summer sunshine


HMS Victorious powers out to sea

A powerful quartet

The Royal Navy’s Vanguard Class consists of four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines – HMS Vanguard, Vengeance, Victorious and Vigilant. Like the Astute Class of submarines, nuclear power is provided by a Rolls-Royce PWR 2 reactor that converts water into steam to drive the engines and generate electricity.

Vanguard Class submarine on the surface in front of Scottish countryside

The giant of the deep

The Vanguard Class submarines are the largest manufactured in the UK, displacing 15,900 tonnes when submerged - twice the displacement of the Resolution Class Polaris submarines that they replaced. They are the third largest vessels currently in service with the Royal Navy.

About the crew

Although the Vanguard Class submarines are larger than the Resolution Class that they replaced (mainly due to the need to accommodate the Trident missiles), the crew compliment is actually smaller – 132 officers and men compared to 149.

Unmatched firepower & technology

Trident missile emerges out of a cloud of smoke

The ultimate deterrent

Each Vanguard Class submarine is armed with Trident 2 D5 missiles.

The Trident submarine launched ballistic missile carries Britain’s nuclear deterrent; the ultimate guarantee of our security and that of our allies.  These missiles can be fired at targets up to 4,000 miles away, ejected from the sub’s ballistic missile tubes by high-pressure gas before igniting when they reach the surface of the water.

Vanguard Class submarine moves off with smoke venting from both sides of it's hull

Periscopic perfection

Vanguard Class subs can scope out their surrounds using the latest technology

Vanguard Class submarines are fitted with two periscopes - the CK51 search periscope and the CH91 attack periscope - which are combined into an optronic mast on the submarine’s fin.

Optronic masts are electronic imaging systems (comprising of a TV camera and thermal imager) that do not penetrate a submarine’s hull. Images from these masts are sent via fibre-optics to two workstations and a commander’s control console.

Units and squadrons

Discover the global operations and bases of the Royal Navy submarine units. Track our missions, explore facts and figures, and check our current and past deployment locations. 

Join the Submarine Service

Life under the ocean isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll be pushed to your limits, but you’ll be rewarded for it too.

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