Stickleback-class submarine

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X51 Stickleback duxford.JPG
X51 Stickleback at Imperial War Museum Duxford
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
General characteristics
Class and type: Stickleback class submarine
Displacement: 35.2 tons surfaced / 39.27 submerged
  • 50 ft 8 in (15.44 m) (pp)
  • 53 ft 10 in (16.41 m) (oa)
Beam: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Draught: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Propulsion: 1 shaft diesel electric, 1 Perkins P6 6cyl diesel, 1 electric motor, 50 bhp/44 shp
Speed: 6.5 knots surfaced / 6 knots submerged
Complement: 5
Armament: 2 detachable 2 ton side charges

The Stickleback class submarines were midget submarines of the Royal Navy initially ordered as improved versions of the older XE class submarines. They were designed to allow British defences to practice defending against midget submarines since it was theorised that the Soviets had or could develop such craft.[1]

The Royal Navy developed plans to use these craft to carry a 15 kiloton nuclear mine (based on the Red Beard weapon) codenamed Cudgel into Soviet harbours.[1] The project was unsuccessful as there were problems finding and paying for the necessary fissile material.


There were 4 boats, launched 1954–1955:


  1. ^ a b Paloczi-Horvath, George (1996). From Monitor to Missile Boat Coast Defence Ships and Coastal Defence since 1860. Conway Maritime Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-85177-650-7. 
  2. ^ "X-51 is here! Helensburgh museum's submarine arrives in Scotland". Helensburgh Advertiser. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  • The Royal Navy Submarine Service, A Centennial History, Antony Preston