The USS Seawolf arrived in the Clyde a day after the USS John Warner departed.

Visits to HMNB Clyde at Faslane near Glasgow from US submarines are routine but the frequency of these visits is not. Not that it’s anything to be concerned about, it’s just noteworthy.

The Seawolf class comprise the quietest, fastest, deepest diving and most capable submarines ever built for the United States Navy. They were so expensive due to their capabilities that even the U.S could only afford to build three of them.

I had the pleasure of watching the USS John Warner depart the Clyde yesterday after the submarine was berthed at the base for a number of days.

HMNB Clyde is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy, the others being HMNB Devonport and HMNB Portsmouth. It is the home of Britain’s nuclear weapons, in the form of nuclear submarines armed with Trident missiles.

Faslane is the second largest single-site employer in Scotland, after the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

In other Faslane related submarine news, a Trafalgar class submarine returned to the base on Saturday.

Last year, Trafalgar class submarine HMS Talent moved from her former home at HM Naval Base Devonport as part of an overall move of the UK’s entire submarine fleet to Faslane. The Royal Navy say that the vessel, which completed a multi-million pound refit at Devonport in June last year, will now join Astute-class submarines HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, and Vanguard-class boats HMS Vanguard, HMS Victorious, HMS Vigilant and HMS Vengeance as part of the Faslane Flotilla at HM Naval Base Clyde.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“HM Naval Base Clyde will be home to all of the UK’s submarines by 2020.  As one of the largest employers in Scotland, it is increasing the number of people employed there from around 6,800 now to approximately 8,200 by 2022. The move of the last two Trafalgar class submarines, HM Submarines Talent and Triumph, to the Clyde in 2019 and 2020 from Devonport (Plymouth). By putting our boats and training in one place, our submariners can put down roots in Scotland knowing that they are no longer required to commute from one end of the country to another.”

In 2015, £500 million of upgrade work funding was announced HM Naval Base Clyde. The investment was be spent on ship lifts, sea walls, jetties and other major projects to support the basing of all UK submarines.

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US subs are becoming frequent visitors there it seems. Cool looking boat!


The US is in the process of sending a message to the Russians about the Arctic and the USS Seawolf has been purposefully sent to send that message. The US Navy published a photo of the Seawolf in a Norwegian fjord in August and it’s the first picture of the sub that the Navy has published in five years. The Seawolf is noted for its ability to cruise under the Artic ice for extended periods of time. It’s all about the Russkis.


It’s a great location for our submarine force, were the SNP morning about the £500 million investment?


I’m sure the Scottish Pacifist Party were.


It’s an appalling location for the submarine service and one of the reasons they cannot keep crews.

I would like to see a breakdown of how many ratings leave and after how long for both submariners and skimmers.
Strangely enough, at least one of the T boats is almost always in Devonport.


The reason for T boats in devonport are
a) Refits followed by sea trials.


The T boats I am taking about are not under FOST a not pre/post refits.

Andy P

There’s FOST SM based in Fassers mate, as the boats use the SXA’s it keeps things relatively close.


How is it an appalling location? Argyll is hardly an ugly place to live and work and Glasgow is an hour’s drive away


It is a lovely place in nice weather, but unfortunately there isn’t an over abundance of that.
It is over an hour from the nearest good run ashore (Glasgow) and a 15-20 taxi ride into Helensburgh which is a nice enough place to raise a family, but not a place for singletons. Look at its proximity to the majority of the nation (where the majority of the ratings come from) and tell me if you would like to be there without family or the chance of meeting up with a potential partner?

700 Glengarried Men

GFOR I get what you’re saying Helensburgh is a small-town not a city like say Portsmouth, however where else in the UK offers a semi covert departure into the Atlantic as for weather yep it can be a bit blustery but as the great comedian Billy Connolly said no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes


The ability to leave in a covert manner due to cloud cover was defeated by advances in satellite technology over 40 years ago.
There is a transit of well over an hour, on the surface, right in front of numerous vantage points before the boat even gets to the Cumbries, not at all covert I’m afraid.

4th watch

Better than Scapa Flow, we can agree on that.

Andy P

While Faslane/Faslamabad/etc is a bit crap to live in, it wasn’t a main reason for people leaving when I was there, it was more getting mucked around with sailing/not sailing and the crap amount of duties when you were alongside. Also pier head jumps onto another unit because some wee precious soul was ‘depressed’ etc. Basically the lack of structure and being able to plan. The navy’s idea of saying to submariners that they would spend their career there kind of makes sense, even if Helensburgh doesn’t have a Jo’s/Emma’s or Boobs.


your showing your age. Both of those fine establishments are long gone but not the memories!

Andy P

I know GB, I know… 🙁 Went with nostalgia, ‘Spanners’ has been shut long enough and that fine establishment Boobs could have been replaced with Jesters I guess but I wanted to rock it ‘old skool’. Then you’ve got Lourenzos in Dunfs, (or Night Magic… and Captain Jacks in Inverqueerthing on a sunday night… back in the day). Saying that, the boys don’t seem that bothered about stepping ashore so much at least on a regular basis. I left 7 years ago and sitting in on the X box was the norm, it was more a ‘big night’ than ‘every… Read more »


lourenzos, Capt Jacks, Images…The DYC in Rosysth Jackie Os in Kircaldy….I am getting all nostalgic! Some great nights out and some dodgy train journeys back to Rosyth dockyard in the morning.

Andy P

Lourenzos is still there, CJ’s is a distant memory and the DYC became a pub but is now knocked down and soon hopefully to be replaced with a Lidl. Images is a pool hall but still known as the Palace. Jackie O’s is long gone too now sadly. You’ve still got the Goth and Cleos (sort of) and the old Reggies building up on Hilton Road is a pub/hotel. My idea of a good run ashore is different now but Dunfs is still decent for the ‘young team’ and you’ve got Embra across the bridge(s). Not many matelots in Rosyth… Read more »

George Royce

How do the US subs fair up to our own?


The Seawolf and its follow on sisters are used for a lot for sneaky stuff.
The USS Jimmy Carter especially was lengthened and had a wet area fitted for divers and ROVs. Its also speculated that it can also do underwater cable taps.

peter french

What about Scotish independence, putting all our eggs in one basket are we not if they vote again and choose to leave the UK

Brad Dawson

I Very Much enjoyed my time at the Holy Loch on a US missile sub in the 1980s. Dunoon was a small town with great people, great friends.