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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.
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. The project was unsuccessful as there were problems finding and paying for the necessary fissile material.
There were 4 boats, launched 1954–1955:
- X51 Stickleback, launched July 1954, sold to the Royal Swedish Navy in 1958 and was renamed Spiggen (Swedish name for "Stickleback"). After a period on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, and then in storage at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, X51 was moved to Faslane in September 2016 in preparation for exhibition at the new Scottish Submarine Museum at Helensburgh.
- X52 Shrimp, launched October 1954
- X53 Sprat, launched 30 December 1954
- X54 Minnow, launched 5 May 1955
- 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.
- "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
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