Nuclear-powered submarine HMS Talent is beginning intensive training to re-join the front line operational fleet after a major refit.

The Trafalgar Class submarine has completed an extensive multi-million pound maintenance period in HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth say the Royal Navy in a press release.

“The successful end of the engineering project was marked by her crew celebrating with the formal ceremony of Ship’s Company Divisions. The tradition of divisions, steeped in history, was overseen by Commodore J Le S Perks, Commodore of the Submarine Flotilla. Submariners were joined by 100 family and friends at the event, followed by a BBQ and games at HMS Drake.

HMS Talent is due to sail from Plymouth for operational sea training with staff of the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation.”

After weeks of tough realistic scenarios preparing her for any eventualities, including combat, HMS Talent and her crew will be declared fit for duties worldwide.

Commander Jamie Mitchell, HMS Talent commanding officer, said:

“This maintenance project has presented many challenges, most notably to our technical departments who have been working incredibly hard to get the submarine ready for operations.”

The maintenance period, undertaken by Babcock, includes capability upgrades enabling the submarine to operate into the next decade and remain one of the world’s most potent military assets.

Gavin Leckie, Babcock Submarine Support Director, said:

“The maintenance period has been a complex project that has relied on a strong partnering ethos between Babcock, the Submarine Delivery Agency and ship’s staff and we’re delighted to see the vessel getting ready for service following its successful engineering maintenance programme. The joint project team should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.”

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the trafalgar class are far better than they are credited. the u.k has been far too keen to retire these ships, my son was on torbay, he told me that the vessel was good for years more service, and didn’t have to be retired.


I was going to ask if anyone was close enough to know that. This is a major refit for only a few years. Keeping these from being decommissioned would be quickest way to extend fleet numbers.


The main reason they are being decommissioned isn’t age really but the lack of manpower as crews are transferred across the the Astute boats. I mean they could by all menas be kept but they would just merely sit around in Devonport or Faslane gathering dust and rust as there wouldn’t be the crews to man them.


Wonder if the RAN or RCN would be interested in a cross crewing scheme? What a waste of some very good resources in times like these. The USN is looking at extending the lives of some of our ISSN688’s to help meet fleet numbers. Each Trafalgar retained is another capital fleet unit available for the RN.


Andy G

why does everyone here assume that manpower is fixed for all time at current levels?

David E Flandry

That assumption is based on the past practices of the government. There is no large constituency for a build-up of defenses.

andy reeves

i’ve always been an advocate for all R.N training establishments to finish their courses together, allowing targeted drafting to ships identified by need and importance to the ‘fleet’ when we ever get one.

Sue Lemon

My son was on Torbay too. Shame she was decommissioned


Events elsewhere in the world prove that of all military vessels submarines need to be maintained to a very high level. So even if Talent is to remain in service for 3 or 4 more years the safety of the submariners must come first.

andy reeves

i’d love to see the total panic in the corridors of power if, her maj decided she would like to hold a fleet review imagine her saying’ where are the ships?!!!

Mr Bell

The Trafalgar class are still very effective silent capable nuclear attack subs. Easily a match for the best the Russian’s and Chinese deploy. We should keep the final 3 in service for as long as possible so that the RN retains numbers around 10 SSNs. The only time these final 3 boats should be retired is when we have built 3 more astute class subs on top of the 7 already ordered. 10 is the magic number This is the number the admiralty state they need to provide 3-4 hulls available for deployments at all times. When you factor in… Read more »

Steve M

Wow, have you got a source for that? I’d love to read the account. World class!


Would love to verify those operational statements but irrespective I believe the general thrust to be true – they are mighty powerful weapons of war. I fully agree 7 is a scary low number in anything other than a zero threat environment and we are very far from that. I can’t see a better way of increasing numbers than by retaining the last few T boats beyond current decommissioning dates. Ten would make me feel less vulnerable, but Roger Lane Nott says 12 is the magic number and I am with him. I know there is a crewing issue on… Read more »

andy reeves

a thorough survey of the retired boats at rosyth should be undertaken with a view to seeing if any can have life extending refits.and a return to the fleet

Mr Bell

The above account of Astute class vs USN in exercises off the east coast was widely reported in the press- warships IFR ran a whole double page spread of the exercise and the fact the Yanks could not believe what they were seeing. They never dreamed an astute could hold them off at range with its superior sonar, remain undetected at relatively close range and then simulated launches of heavy weight torpedoes would have sunk both Virginia class and most of the surface warship group sent to hunt for the astute class. See warships IFR- this is a good source… Read more »


I searched Warships IFR and couldn’t find any reference to the Astute vs USN sub scenario mentioned. Would like to read the after-action report, could you please provide a link to the info?


I read the account of Astute holding off USS New Mexico with its superior sonar but not the rest if this account.

Why would you need more than 7 if one could do this ?

Paul Stoker

The Americans always overestimated their own capabilities and always underestimate their adversaries, they think everyone thinks like them which leads to misunderstandings and confusion. They have always relied totaly on their advanced technology and forgot the basics. There’s a common term for it but its to do with attitude really and makes them vulnerable. I think as a nation we need to be more self reliant.


The T Boats are coming to an end but what a success story they proved to be for the RN! The Swiftsure class weren’t half bad either!