HMS Oracle (S16)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Oracle.
Hms oracle s16.jpg
HMS Oracle
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Oracle
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Laid down: 26 April 1960
Launched: 26 September 1961
Commissioned: 14 February 1963
Decommissioned: 18 September 1993
Fate: Transferred to Pounds scrapyard, Portsmouth in 1997 for breaking up, completed in mid-2003.[1]
General characteristics as designed
Class and type: Oberon-class submarine
  • 1,610 tons standard
  • 2,030 tons full load surfaced
  • 2,410 tons full load submerged
Beam: 26.5 feet (8.1 m)
Draught: 18 feet (5.5 m)
  • 2 × Admiralty Standard Range 16 VMS diesel generators
  • 2 × 6,000 shaft horsepower (4,500 kW) electric motors
  • 2 shafts
  • 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) submerged
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
Complement: 68 (6 officers, 62 enlisted)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Type 186 and Type 187 sonars
  • I-band surface search radar
  • 8 × 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes (6 forward, 2 aft)
  • 24 torpedoes

HMS Oracle was an Oberon-class submarine of the Royal Navy.

Design and construction[edit]

The Oberon class was a direct follow on of the Porpoise-class, with the same dimensions and external design, but updates to equipment and internal fittings, and a higher grade of steel used for fabrication of the pressure hull.[2]

As designed for British service, the Oberon-class submarines were 241 feet (73 m) in length between perpendiculars and 295.2 feet (90.0 m) in length overall, with a beam of 26.5 feet (8.1 m), and a draught of 18 feet (5.5 m).[3] Displacement was 1,610 tons standard, 2,030 tons full load when surfaced, and 2,410 tons full load when submerged.[3] Propulsion machinery consisted of 2 Admiralty Standard Range 16 VMS diesel generators, and two 6,000 shaft horsepower (4,500 kW) electric motors, each driving a 7 feet (2.1 m) 3-bladed propeller at up to 400 rpm.[3] Top speed was 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) when submerged, and 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface.[3] Eight 21-inch (530 mm) diameter torpedo tubes were fitted (six facing forward, two aft), with a total payload of 24 torpedoes.[3] The boats were fitted with Type 186 and Type 187 sonars, and an I-band surface search radar.[3] The standard complement was 68: 6 officers, 62 sailors.[3]

Oracle was laid down by Cammel Laird on 26 April 1960, and launched on 26 September 1961.[3] The boat was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 14 February 1963.[3]

Operational history[edit]

Oracle attended the 1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review off Spithead when she was part of the Submarine Flotilla.[4]

Oracle featured in the 1980s BBC documentary series Submarine as she was host to Perisher trainee submarine commanders.[citation needed]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

Oracle was paid off on 18 September 1993.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  2. ^ Chant, Christopher (2005). Submarine Warfare Today: The World's Deadliest Underwater Weapons Systems. Wigston: Silverdale Books. p. [page needed]. ISBN 1-84509-158-2. OCLC 156749009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Moore, John, ed. (1977). Jane's Fighting Ships 1977-78. Jane's Fighting Ships (80th ed.). London: Jane's Yearbooks. p. 490. ISBN 0531032779. OCLC 18207174. 
  4. ^ Official Souvenir Programme, 1977. Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, HMSO