HMS Vigilant (S30)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Vigilant.
HMS Vigilant MOD 45157568.jpg
Returning from patrol April 2014
Career (UK)
Name: HMS Vigilant
Laid down: 16 February 1991[1]
Launched: 14 October 1995[1]
Commissioned: 2 November 1996[1]
Homeport: HMNB Clyde
Status: in active service, as of 2014
(Sea trials post refit)
Badge: Vigilant crest.jpg
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Vanguard-class submarine
Displacement: 15,900 tonnes, submerged[2]
Length: 149.9 m (491 ft 10 in)
Beam: 12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
Draught: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Speed: In excess of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), submerged
Range: Only limited by food and maintenance requirements.
Complement: 135
Sensors and
processing systems:
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • Two SSE Mk10 launchers for Type 2066 and Type 2071 torpedo decoys
  • RESM Racal UAP passive intercept

4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes for:

16 ballistic missile tubes for:

HMS Vigilant is the third Vanguard-class submarine of the Royal Navy. Vigilant carries the Trident ballistic missile, the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent.

Vigilant was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions), was launched in October 1995, and commissioned in November 1996.

Peter Hennessy reporting for the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, reported from Vigilant on 28 December 2007. He reported that there is a grey safe in the control room that has an inner safe that only the commanding officer and executive officer can open. In that safe is a letter from the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the letter of last resort, which contains guidance and orders to be followed should the United Kingdom be attacked with nuclear weapons.

The French Navy also have a SSBN in service called Vigilant.

Operational history[edit]

In 2002, protestors from Trident Ploughshares breached security at Faslane Naval Base where the Vanguard-class submarines are based. Two protestors managed to spray paint Vigilant with the CND symbol and the word "Vile".

Vigilant arrived at Devonport on 11 October 2008 for a major refit.[3] Vigilant returned to the fleet on 27 March 2012 after her £300m refit.[4][5] In 2013, she test fired her main weapon, a firing of the Trident D5 after three years.[6]

General characteristics[edit]

  • Displacement: 16,000 tons submerged
  • Propulsion: Rolls-Royce PWR2 reactor, two GEC turbines, single shaft, pump jet propulsor
  • Electrical Power: two Paxman diesel generators, two WH Allen turbogenerators
  • Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h) submerged
  • Complement: 14 officers, 121 men
  • Strategic Armament: 16 Lockheed Trident II D5 ballistic missiles
  • Defensive Armament: four 533 mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes, Spearfish torpedoes
In the Clyde in 1996

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jane's Fighting Ships, 2004-2005. Jane's Information Group Limited. p. 794. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.
  2. ^ Royal Navy Vanguard class submarine,
  3. ^ "HMS Vigilant Arrives In Devonport for Major Refit". RN. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  4. ^ "HMS Vigilant SSBN in for GBP 300 million refit". Defense Industry 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  5. ^ "HMS Vigilant: Torpoint Ferry suspended for submarine departure". 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-03-27. 
  6. ^ Vigilant crew honoured for work leading to successful missile test firing,, 05/06/2013

External links[edit]