HMS Trenchant (S91)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Trenchant.
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Trenchant
Ordered: 22 March 1983
Builder: Vickers Shipbuilding, Barrow-in-Furness
Laid down: 28 October 1985
Launched: 3 November 1986
Commissioned: 14 January 1989
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
Fate: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: HMS Trenchant crest.jpg
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Trafalgar class submarine
Displacement: 5,300 tonnes, submerged
Length: 85.4 m (280 ft)
Beam: 9.8 m (32 ft)
Draught: 9.5 m (31 ft)
Speed: Up to 32 knots (59 km/h), submerged
Range: Only limited by food and maintenance requirements.
Complement: 130
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • 2 × SSE Mk8 launchers for Type 2066 and Type 2071 torpedo decoys
  • RESM Racal UAP passive intercept
  • CESM Outfit CXA
  • SAWCS decoys carried from 2002

5 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes with stowage for up to 30 weapons:

HMS Trenchant is a Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine of the Royal Navy built by Vickers Shipbuilding, Barrow-in-Furness. Trenchant is in service and is based at HMNB Devonport. She is the third vessel and the second submarine of the Royal Navy to be named for the characteristic of vigour and incisiveness.

The submarine was ordered on 22 March 1983. She was laid down by Vickers Shipbuilding on 28 October 1985, and was launched on 3 November 1986 in the presence of Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Hezlet, who had commanded the World War II T-class submarine Trenchant.[3] She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 14 January 1989.[4]

Trenchant is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2019.[5]

Operational history[edit]


On 22 November 1990, the nets of the fishing vessel Antares were snagged by Trenchant in the Bute Sound in Scotland. At the time the submarine was conducting a 'Perisher' Submarine Command Course exercise in company with the frigate HMS Charybdis. Antares was pulled under with the loss of all four members of the crew.[6][7][8]

In July 1997, the submarine ran aground off the western coast of Australia.[9] While approaching Fremantle, Western Australia, the submarine remained at a depth of 200 metres (660 ft) and grounded when she made contact with the continental shelf, coming to rest on a sloping patch of seafloor.[9] Trenchant was able to free herself, and an inspection by divers reported no significant damage.[9]

Trenchant tested the non-hull-penetrating optronic mast in 1998. She also trialled a camouflage paint scheme comprising jagged shapes of various colours, including pale blue.[citation needed]

2000-present day[edit]

On 21 June 2007, the submarine became the first Royal Navy vessel to fire the new Block IV Tomahawk cruise missile in a live-firing trial in the Gulf of Mexico off the United States coast.[10]

In late 2009, Trenchant entered the Devonport submarine refit complex to undertake a 2-year refit and upgrade programme. Upon completion of the programme, the submarine underwent a rededication service on 6 June 2011 to welcome the boat back to active service.[11]

On 22 May 2013, HMS Trenchant completed the longest patrol ever carried out by a Royal Navy SSN. The patrol lasted 335 days (11 months) during which the submarine sailed 38,800nm.[12] During this time the vessel has visited six different ports: Fujairah, UAE; the British Indian Ocean Territory – Diego Garcia; the Kingdom of Bahrain; Aqaba, Jordan; Souda Bay, Crete; and Gibraltar.[13]


Trenchant is affiliated with the following military and civilian organisations, bodies & individuals:[11]


  1. ^ All boats have a pump jet propulsor with the exception of Trafalgar which was fitted with a 7-bladed conventional propeller.[2]
  • Submarines, War Beneath The Waves, From 1776 To The Present Day, by Robert Hutchinson

External links[edit]