Our nuclear submarines are among the most complex machines ever built and ensuring that one is at sea continuously is a huge challenge. That the Royal Navy has completed 350 deterrent patrols without once breaking the chain is simply a momentous achievement.

Rear Admiral John Weale OBE

Continuous submarine patrolling began in April 1969 with the Royal Navy’s submarines taking primary responsibility for the UK’s national strategic deterrent.  Since then at least one Royal Navy ballistic submarine has been on patrol in the world’s oceans, ensuring a continuous at sea deterrent.

Today the four Vanguard class submarines uphold the mission and between them have never missed a single day on patrol.

Although the name of the submarine and the date it completed the 350th patrol have not been revealed, the impressive achievement was formally recognised back in September when NATO’s North Atlantic Council visited HM Naval Base Clyde along with the UK Defence Secretary. 

Speaking during the visit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “The nuclear forces of the Alliance, including those at Clyde Naval Base, are the supreme guarantee of the security of allied countries and populations.”

As well as marking the considerable achievements of the past, the Submarine Service is also focussed on the future.  HM Naval Base Clyde has been home to the submarine based nuclear deterrent for five decades and will be the home to the entire UK Submarine Service by 2020.

The UK Government is investing £1.3 Billion over the next 10 years to update and upgrade its engineering and training facilities in preparation for the new Dreadnought class of submarines. 

The design and construction of the Dreadnought class of four ballistic missile submarines is one of the largest and most complex programmes that the MOD and UK industry has undertaken. 

HMNB Clyde

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