Resolution Class Ballistic Missile Submarines

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The first British strategic ballistic missile submarines, carrying the Polaris missile. Five boats were planned but only four were completed (Ramilles was to have been the fifth vessel). Traditional battleship names were used to signifying that they were the capital ships of the time.

Vickers Armstrong in Barrow-in-Furness constructed Resolution and Repulse and Cammal Laird in Birkenhead constructed Renown and Revenge. The construction was unusual in that the bow and stern were constructed separately before being assembled together with the American-designed missile compartment.

The design was a modification of the Valiant Class Fleet Submarine, but greatly extended to incorporate the missile compartment between the fin and the nuclear reactor. The length was 130 metres, breadth 10.1 metres, height 9 metres and the displacement 8,400 tons submerged and 7,600 tons surfaced. A Rolls-Royce pressurised water reactor and English Electric turbines gave them a speed of 25 knots and they could dive to depths of 900 feet. Sixteen Polaris A3 missiles were carried, in two rows of eight behind the fin. For emergencies there was a diesel generator and six 21-inch torpedo tubes located at the bow, firing the Tigerfish wire guided homing torpedoes. The submarines put to sea with a crew of 143.

The first to be completed was the Resolution, laided down in February 1964 and launched in September 1966. After commissioning in 1967 she underwent a long period of sea trials culminating in the test firing of a Polaris missile. Fired from the USAF Eastern Test Range off Cape Kennedy at 11:15 on 15 February 1968. Resolution commenced her first operational patrol on June 15 1968, beginning 28 years of Polaris patrols. The class were part of the 10th Submarine Squadron, all based at Faslane Naval Base, Scotland.

Upon decommissioning, the reactors were removed and all four submarines were laid up at Rosyth Dockyard.

HMS Resolution active from October 1967 to October 1992.

HMS Repulse active from September 1968 to August 1996.

HMS Renown active from November 1968 to 1995.

HMS Revenge active from December 1969 to May 1992.