Vanguard Class

Ballistic Missile Submarine

The four Vanguard-class submarines form the UK's strategic nuclear deterrent force. Each boat is armed with Trident 2 D5 nuclear missiles. Like all submarines the Vanguard Class are steam powered, their reactors converting water into steam to drive the engines and generate electricity.

Fitted with world beating sonar, essentially their ears, the system is so sensitive they can hear vessels over 50 miles away. The Successor boats are expected to have a lifespan of at least 30 years.


Weapons and capabilities

Spearfish torpedo

Anti-submarine torpedo

The Spearfish torpedo is the heavyweight torpedo it weighs nearly two tonnes and is capable of blasting enemy submarines or ships out of the water.

At full speed, Spearfish can attack at a target up to 14 miles away. At low speed, that increases to more than 30 miles. 

It is guided either by copper wire or closes on to its target using its inbuilt sonar, delivering a 660lb explosive charge. That detonates either when it strikes the hull of an enemy submarine, or via an acoustic proximity fuse underneath the target.

Trident Missile

D5 ballistic missile

The Trident nuclear missile is Britain's ultimate deterrent and weapon.

The Trident can be fired at targets up to 4,000 miles away, ejected by high-pressure gas before the rockets fire when the missile reaches the surface. At its fastest, it will travel at over 13,000 miles an hour.

Submarines on patrol carry up to 40 nuclear warheads and up to eight operational missiles.

Being a part of the Submarine Service

CH Hayes, 46

Chef (Submariner)

You can’t beat the buzz of working in a kitchen – especially when you’re 200 metres underwater! Living in such close quarters means we’re a tight-knit team, and a good meal is a sure-fire way to boost morale.