UK retires two hunter-killer submarines on the same day

Royal Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines HMS Talent and HMS Trenchant were decommissioned at Devonport Naval Base on 20 May.

HMS Talent arrives at new homeport at Clyde. Photo: Royal Navy
Source: Royal Navy

HMS Trenchant’s operational career came to an end last year, while HMS Talent completed its final patrol earlier this spring.

Both boats served for 32 years with distinction. As hunter-killer submarines, it was their mission to protect first Polaris, now Trident – the country’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent – and to detect, track and classify targets.

The boats are capable of gaining intelligence, covertly inserting troops ashore, or striking at enemy submarines and ships with Spearfish torpedoes and targets ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The Trafalgar-class submarines have been replaced by the seven Astute-class submarines.

Four Astutes have been commissioned, soon to be joined by number five, HMS Anson, which has completed successful diving checks.

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Like the T-boats before them, they are deployed around the globe daily. HMS Astute sailed to the Pacific and back with the Carrier Strike Group last year while HMS Ambush launched furtive raids by Royal Marines in Norway’s fjords as part of wider UK/NATO operations in the Arctic this spring.

The newly-commissioned HMS Audacious has been on patrol in the Mediterranean having reached full operating capability on 4 April.

“The Trafalgar Class developed a world class reputation and defended UK interests unstintingly across the world’s oceans.  The Astute submarines have now taken up the baton, continuing to protect the UK from threats with deeply professional submarine crews,” Commodore James Perks, Commodore Submarine Service, said.