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Trafalgar Class nuclear powered attack submarines

All Trafalgar class submarines are based at Devonport. They are frequent visitors to Faslane.

HMS Trafalgar

Based at Devonport. In refit from August 1992 to early 1996.
Undergoing sea trials in March 1996.
Took part in Exercise Ocean Wave from June to August 1997 in the Far East during which it circumnavigated the globe through the Suez and Panama canals.
Returned to Devonport in August 1997
Took part in Joint Maritime Course exercise from Faslane in June 1998
Reported that in an earlier Joint Maritime Course Trafalgar was used for Perisher submarine command training.
Deployed to the Falkland Islands in Spring 1999.
In Devonport dockyard for a Capability Update Period which was ongoing in Feb 2000.
Described as carrying out post refit trials in July 2000.
Preparing for being cruise capable which it is planned to be by summer 2000.
Berthed at Devonport 3 August 2000.
On 21 Oct 2000 withdrawn from service until its reactor is checked.
Signs of "Tireless" fault found 1 Nov 00
Test firing of cruise missile in summer of 2001
Deployed to the Gulf with the Argonaut task force which left UK early Sep 2001. Cruise capable.
Fired cruise missiles at Afghanistan.
Listed as operational in November 2001.
Hit rocks near Isle of Skye during submarine captains training 7 Nov 2002 more
Two officers court martialled for Skye collision; Enquiry found "lapses" from usual Navy standards, December 2003
During repair new sonar fitted, torpedo handling hydraulics replaced and internal communications enhanced.
Deisel leak at Devonport April 2004 followed by freon leak when arrived at Faslane for trials.
11 crew members refused to go to sea at Faslane 28 April 2004
Had been in service for 22 years by January 2005
Fully operational in July 2005.
Left UK in March 2006 for a five month Westlant06 deployment;
included trials at the AUTEC range in the Bahamas (May 2006), an exercise with the US Navy in the Caribean, meeting a resupply ships in Rio de Janeiro, visit to La Martinique and Gibraltar before returning to the UK (Trafalgar newsletter Summer 2006); included visits to Falklands 24 July 2006, Rio de Janeiro 3 Aug 2006, Gibraltar 17 August 2006 (seawaves.com)
Devonport 21 & 30 August 2006 (seawaves.com)
In March 2002 an official statement said that Trafalgar would be decommissioned in 2007; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2008.

HMS Turbulent

There was a major fire resulting in casualties from smoke on 30 April 1992.
At end of refit in Devonport Dockyard, about to carry out Power Range Testing (Nov 1996).
Visiting Faslane in late August 1997.
There was a nuclear incident on HMS Turbulent around 7 Nov 1997. There was probably a radiation leak into an unmanned compartment next to the reactor. 130 crew members and 6 workers from Devonport were tested for radiation. Some reports say that one crew member showed unusual levels of radiation and was taken for further monitoring. The Navy has remained secretive about the incident which was first disclosed in the local Plymouth papers on 15 Nov 1997. More details available from Plymouth nuclear Dump Information Group.
Took part in NATO Exercise Northern Light in the Bay of Biscay in Sep 1999.
Berthed at Devonport 3 August 2000.
On 21 Oct 2000 withdrawn from service until its reactor is checked.
Signs of "Tireless" fault found, 1 Nov 00
Listed as in refit in November 2001
Will be capable of firing cruise missiles after refit and trials.
Had been in service for 21 years by January 2005.
Fully operational in July 2005.
Visit to Tromso, Norway in March 2006 (Turbulent website)
At Devonport 4 July 2006 (seawaves.com)
In Plymouth Sound 23 September 2006 (Seawaves.com)
In March 2002 an official statement said that Turbulent would be decommissioned in 2008; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2011.

HMS Tireless

In refit at Devonport Dockyard from June 1996.
Redediction scheduled for January 1999.
Arrived on a visit to Faslane on 1st May 1999, possibly accompanying Vengeance during sea trials.
Coolant leak in the reactor compartment between Sicily and North Africa on 12 May 2000 which could have resulted in a melt down. Forced to call off a round the world deployment and limped to Gibraltar. This has been at the centre of protests in Gibraltar and Spain. Discovered in October that the reactor problem was far more serious than at first admitted. Proposal to carry out the repair in Gibraltar is now suspect.
Updates on Tireless problem: 30 July, 4 August 23 October 28 October 31 October
Returned to Devonport in May 2001. Visited Faslane then went to Devonport for further repairs.
Listed as undergoing maintenance and repairs in November 2001.
Ballast tanks were damaged after striking a "free floating object" while submerged , reported in May 2003. This may have been an iceberg.
Had been in service for 20 years by January 2005.
In July 2005 undergoing a period of planned maintenance and upgrade which will include adding the capability to launch cruise missiles.
Completed revalidation maintenance period and preparing for return to sea in May 2006 (Tireless website)
Plymouth Sound 28 & 29 July 2006 (seawaves.com)
Visit to Southampton 31 July 2006 (Tireless website & seawaves.com)
In Devonport 11 August 2006 & Plymouth Sound 17 August 2006 (seawaves.com)

In Plymouth Sound 23 &26 September 2006 (seawaves.com)

In Devonport 6 &12 October 2006 (Seawaves.com)
In March 2002 an official statement said that Tireless would be decommissioned in 2011; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2013.

HMS Torbay

Carried out maintenance period at Faslane in Oct 1996.
In Devonport dockyard for refit from January 1998.
Torbay was abandoned by a tug outside Devonport in Jan 98. Plymouth tug master James Richmond was later sacked for gross misconduct. In his defence he argued that he had worked 100 hours in the week leading up to the incident. This was a result of the privatisation of the tug services which had reduced staffing levels from 14 to 6, under the privatised contractor, Serco Denholm Ltd. It was also revealed that there had been two steering failures in two years on nuclear submarines entering and leaving Devonport.
In Devonport dockyard undergoing refuelling in Feb 2000. Due to be moved out of the dock in August 2000 and then carry out Power Range Testing of the reactor.
Was scheduled to be rededicated in Feb 2001.
Listed by MoD as in refit on 11 July 2000.
Signs of "Tireless" fault, 1 Nov 00. As it is in refit and has a new fuel core, Torbay may be repaired before Tireless.
Sep 2001 - refit extended because of last minute problems.
Listed as still in refit in November 2001.
Accepted back into the fleet November 2002

Had been in service for 18 years by January 2005.
Fully operational in July 2005.
Had earlier been listed as to become cruise capable by 2006.
Fitted with new 2076 sonar making it the most technologically advanced Trafalgar class submarine (Torbay website)
Colour changed from black to blue before March 2006; new colour to be tried out for visibility (Torbay website)

Took part in Joint Maritime Course in North West Scotland in February 2006 which was first real test of new sonar; then to Bermuda, then Florida then took part in trials at the AUTEC range in the Bahamas with Trafalgar, then Kings Bay, US, then returned to UK in July 2006 for maintenance; returning to sea in Autumn. (Torbay website)
In Devonport 21 July 2006 & 26 August 2006 & 20 September 2006(seawaves.com)
To be used on Perisher course in Autumn 2006 (Torbay website)
Revalidation Assisted Maintenace Period (RAMP) for Torbay will be carried out at Faslane in 2007, rather than Devonport; This will include adding capability to launch cruise missiles and is due to take 10 months (Torbay website)

In March 2002 an official statement said that Torbay would be decommissioned in 2021; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2015.

HMS Trenchant

Took part in exercise Purple Star and NATO Exercise Northern Lights, 2 -12 Sep 1996.
Left Devonport for the first part of Exercise Ocean Wave in January 1997; the exercise is a major overseas deployment and is taking place from January to August 1997. On 14 May 1997 it was reported that Trenchant had arrived in Hong Kong to assist in the handover of the colony to China on 30 June.
Returned to Devonport in August 1997.
Trenchant broke down in Portugal with reactor problems on 13 Oct 1998 and returned to Devonport on 20 Oct.
Deployed on NATO Exercise Northern Light in the Bay of Biscay in Sept 1999.
Due to start a long refit (Long Overhaul Period) in March 2000 at Devonport dockyard, 10 dock.
Listed by MoD as in refit on 11 July 2000.
MoD claim no sign of "Tireless" fault, 1 Nov 00
Listed as in refit November 2001.
Refit involved a new sonar and being made capable of firing cruise missiles.
In February 2004 Trenchant left Devonport towards the end of the refit for Contractors Sea Trials which included visiting Faslane.

Had been in service for 16 years by January 2005.
Fully operational in July 2005.
Started Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) at Devonport in January 2006 and due to return to see at the end of 2006 (Turbulent website)
In March 2002 an official statement said that Trenchant would be decommissioned in 2023; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2017..


HMS Talent

Carried out Docking and Assisted Maintenance (not full refit) at Devonport dockyard in Autumn 1993.
Took part in Joint Maritime Exercise, Feb 1996.
Listed in Navy News as due to be on patrol over Christmas 1997.
Took part in Joint Maritime Exercise, from Faslane, June 1998.
Listed by MoD as in refit or long maintenance at Devonport on 11 July 2000.
A major defect was discovered on Talent and it will not be operational until the end of 2000 (Daily Telegraph 8/9/00)
MoD admit signs found of "Tireless" fault, 1 Nov 00
Listed as operational in November 2001.
Start of long refit in Devonport May 2003
Refered to as in long refit at Devonport in February 2004.
New communications being installed as part of the refit.
Had been in service for 15 years by January 2005.
Listed as undergoing refit in July 2005.
Listed as to be cruise capable by 2006
Returned to service at the end of a refit and refuelling (Navy News November 2006)

Sailed from Devonport for Contractors Sea Trials on 17 October 2006 at end of 3 year refit; refit included fitting new 2076 sonar and heat-management system; due to have 12 more years in service (Talent website)
In March 2002 an official statement said that Talent would be decommissioned in 2017; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2019..

HMS Triumph

Based at Devonport. Should be cruise capable from the start of 2000.
Return to Devonport from deployment to Arabian Gulf in April 2000.
Plymouth paper quoted MoD as saying this was the only Trafalgar class submarine operational in late June 2000.
On 21 Oct 2000 ordered to return from Toulon, France, for checks to its reactor at Devonport
Triumph returned to Devonport on 27 Oct 00
On 1 Nov 00 the MoD claimed that Triumph was clear of the "Tireless" flaw. But this is highly suspect. They have clearly not inspected its reactor. Such an inspection could only be carried out weeks after the vessel returned to port. It would appear that the Navy has put operational and political demands before safety in giving Triumph the all clear.
On 19 November 2000 HMS Triumph hit the seabed when 3 miles off course during a Perisher submarine commander exercise off the West Coast of Scotland. Two junior officers were courtmartialled - neither of them were on the Perisher course. It was revealed during the courtmartial that prior to the accident they had gone 12 days with only 4 hours sleep a night. The defence lawyer said that one of the officers was suffering from extreme fatigue. Also a high proportion of the crew had not been at sea together before. Defence Minister Adam Ingram described the incident as " a glancing contact with soft sand and shells".
Listed as operational November 2001.
In January 2002 it was admitted by Defence Minister Adam Ingram that HMS Triumph had been away from port more than any other Navy vessel over the past two years. During that time it had spent 68 per cent of the time at sea.
Fired cruise missiles during the attack on Afghanistan

Had been in service for 14 years by January 2005.
Listed as undergoing refit in July 2005.
NII agreed that a "core boronation modification" could be implemented and commissioned for Triumph in 14 Dock at Devonport. "This safeguard ensures that the core exhibits a margin to criticality in line with internationally accepted standards" (HSE Nuclear Safety NewsletterI August 2006).
In March 2002 an official statement said that Triumph would be decommissioned in 2017; a subsequent statement in March 2005 said that it would be decommissioned in 2022.



Last updated 11 November 2006

Scottish CND      submarines