HMS Triumph has sailed from Devonport and HMS Trenchant is readying to deploy, silencing claims that a “cracked reactor has led to more than half of the frontline attack submarines being taken out of service”.

This comes as earlier reports in the Express claimed that a fault was present in the Trafalgar class submarines, meaning they may never sail again:

“Experts warned the fault in the reactor of HMS Trenchant was so serious that the Trafalgar fleet may never sail again.

The fracture is being treated as an ‘irreparable generic fault’ that will prevent it from being able to carry out normal duties.”

HMS Triumph and HMS Trenchant are Trafalgar class submarines. The other vessels in this class are in various stages of refit and maintenance.

It is also understood that HMS Astute is continuing post-refit sea trials with another Astute class submarine reportedly ready to deploy soon.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson denied the claim that the subs would be permanently out of action:

“It is untrue to suggest that HMS Trenchant or the rest of the T-class subs are unable to deploy again.”

The crew of HMS Trenchant are currently preparing for deployment after a refit as they prepare to rejoin the operational fleet. Accoreding to the Royal Navy, the submarine is alongside in Devonport Naval Base while her engineers are busy finishing the final stages of her maintenance period.

The Royal Navy said in a statement:

“For three weeks the submarine’s command team have been hard at work in the ‘Talisman’ submarine control room simulator in Devonport – and have passed their tactical simulation training, allowing them to fire training torpedoes at the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre during their work-up later this year.”

Commander Rob Watts, the Commanding Officer of HMS Trenchant said:

“This is an important step in achieving full operational capability. The team have performed well and look forward to demonstrating their skills with live weapons later this year.

The realistic training ensures the crew are safe to operate the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile weapon system and can effectively use the Spearfish torpedo against surface and sub-surface targets.”

According to a press release, tough training in the simulator ‘tested the crew’s ability to operate in busy inshore shipping areas with large merchant vessels, small fishing vessels, high speed ferries, warships, submarines and military aircraft’.

The Royal Navy say the next step in the preparation to deploy the submarine is embarking the torpedoes and missiles before HMS Trenchant is welcomed back to the Royal Navy fleet as a fully operational submarine.

This comes amid claims the entire Royal Navy attack submarine fleet is out of action.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

“The Royal Navy’s attack submarines meet their operational tasking and will continue to do so over the next decade.

It is not uncommon to have temporary small fluctuations in overall numbers during transition from one class to another.”

According to Save the Royal Navy here:

“With Russian submarines operating with increasing tempo near to UK waters, having no SSNs at sea is very serious, not least for the protection of the nuclear deterrent submarine.

However informed naval sources state that, while not desirable, this is a short-term blip in the maintenance cycle and more usual patrol patterns with resume in the near future.

Although rather more significant, the situation is akin to the storm that erupted last summer when all six Type 45s were alongside in Portsmouth.”

Various Royal Navy attack submarines have been seen entering and leaving Faslane on a frequent basis this month, all performing various routine tasks.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Steven Jones
Steven Jones
5 years ago

Hmm, reading the content of the article and the tone in which it is written has the strong whiff of “Whitewash” about it. There should be zero tolerance of these kind of mechanical shortcomings/failures, until there is a known price to paid, they will continue to occur.

5 years ago

When I saw the first report my comment elsewhere was that only a reactor fault could ground the whole SSN fleet, and then lo and behold a week later it turns out that a reactor fault had grounded the Trafalgars. At least they didn’t include the Astutes which have a different reactor. A cynic would say it’s an unusual double act between Large who seems to have become anti-nuke back a good few years about Hunterston I think (it’s still going near where I live with modelled cracks as per schedule), and West who rightly wants more money. Well, it… Read more »

5 years ago

Proves you can’t believe the shite about defence you read in the press.