The Vanguards were designed from the outset as an unlimited-range nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine, unlike the previous Resolution class which was adapted from the then existing Valiant class and the American Lafayette class of nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBN in US terms). At 149.9 metres (492 ft) long and 15,980 tonnes (15,730 long tons) submerged displacement the Vanguards are roughly twice the size of the Resolutions, and are the third largest submarines ever built, by displacement when surfaced, after the RussianTyphoon and American Ohio classes. The great increase in size is largely related to the much larger size of the Trident D-5 missile as compared to Polaris.
The Vanguards were designed and built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Limited (VSEL), now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions. The Devonshire dock hall was built specifically to build these submarines. The missile compartment is based on the system used on the Ohio class, though only 16 missiles are carried rather than the 24 of the Ohio.
In addition to the missile tubes the Vanguard class is fitted with four 21 inches (53 cm) torpedoSpearfish heavyweight torpedo, allowing it to engage submerged or surface targets at ranges up to 65 kilometres (40 mi; 35 nmi). Two SSE Mark 10 launchers are also fitted to allow the boats to deploy Type 2066 and Type 2071 decoys, and a UAP Mark 3 electronic support measures (ESM) intercept system is fitted. tubes and carries the
HMS Vanguard, Victorious, Vigilant and Vengeance were commissioned in 1993, 1995, 1996 and 2000 respectively.
SensorsVanguard carries the Thales Underwater Systems Type 2054 composite sonar. The Type 2054 is a multi-mode, multi-frequency system, which incorporates the 2046, 2043 and 2082 sonars. The fleet is in the process of having their sonars refitted to include open architecture processing using commercial off the shelf technology.
A Type 2043 hull-mounted active/passive search sonar is also carried, as is a Type 2082 passive intercept and ranging sonar. Finally a Type 2046 towed array is carried. This operates at very low frequency, giving a passive search capability.
Two periscopes are carried, a CK51 search model and a CH91 attack model. Both have a TV camera and thermal imager as well as conventional optics.
A Type 1007 I-band navigation radar is also carried.
A specialised Submarine Command System (SMCS) was originally developed for the Vanguard boats and was later used on other Royal Navy submarines.
A new pressurised water reactor, the PWR 2, was designed for the Vanguard class. This has double the service life of previous models, and it is estimated that a Vanguard class submarine could circumnavigate the world 40 times without refuelling. This should allow the class to carry out their entire service life without the need for expensive refuelling. The reactor drives two GEC turbines linked to a single shaft pump jet propulsor. This propulsion system gives the Vanguards a maximum submerged speed of 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph). Auxiliary power requirements are provided by a pair of 6MW Steam-turbine generators supplied by WH Allen, (later known as NEI Allen, Allen Power & Rolls-Royce) with two Paxman diesel alternators for provision of backup power supply.
Builders: Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd, Barrow-in-Furness
Operators: Royal Navy
Preceded by: Resolution-class
Succeeded by: N/A
In service: 1993 -
Active: Vanguard (S28)
Displacement: Dived: 15,680 long tons (17,560 short tons)
Length: 149.9 m (491 ft 10 in)
Beam: 12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
Draught: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Propulsion: 1 × Rolls-Royce PWR2 nuclear reactor
2 × GEC turbines
1 × shaft pump jet
27,500 hp (20.5 MW)
2 × auxiliary retractable propulsion motors
2 × W H Allen turbo generators
2 × Paxman diesel alternators
2 × 2,700 hp (4 MW)
Speed: Dived: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: Essentially unlimited distance; 20 years
Complement: 14 officers
processing systems: BAE Systems SMCS
Thales Underwater Systems Type 2054 composite sonar suite comprising:
Type 2046 towed array sonar
Type 2043 hull-mounted active and passive search sonar
Type 2082 passive intercept and ranging sonar
1 × Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I band navigation radar
1 × Pilkington Optronics CK51 search periscope
1 × Pilkington Optronics CH91 attack periscope
Armament: 4 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes
16 × ballistic missile tubes
16 × Lockheed Trident D5 SLBMs carrying up to 128 warheads