Stickleback-class submarine

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X51 Stickleback duxford.JPG
X51 Stickleback at Imperial War Museum Duxford
United Kingdom
Name: Stickleback class
General characteristics
Type: Midget submarine
  • 35.2 tons surfaced
  • 39.27 tons 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 6 cyl diesel, 1 electric motor, 50 bhp/44 shp
  • 6.5 knots (12.0 km/h; 7.5 mph) surfaced
  • 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) submerged
Complement: 5
Armament: 2 detachable 2-ton side charges

The Stickleback-class submarines were midget submarines of the British 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 Soviet Union had or could develop such craft.[1]

The Royal Navy developed plans to use these craft to carry a 15-kiloton nuclear naval 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.[2]


There were four boats, launched 1954–1955:[2]


  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. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 527
  3. ^ "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
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1995. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.