No mission has been longer – or more important say the Royal Navy – than the patrols performed by the UK’s nuclear armed submarines for the past 50 years.

In a release to mark the milestone, the Royal Navy say that since April 1969 there has always been one submarine from Faslane on the Clyde carrying out Operation Relentless.

“To mark that commitment – and success – high-profile public events, including services of thanksgiving in London and Edinburgh, a parade through the home of the deterrent force on the Clyde and a new commemorative award for crew  are all lined up. Political, industry and naval leaders are determined 2019 also recognises the expertise, innovation and skill of the thousands of people who have designed, built and supported the deterrence force on more than 350 patrols since the late 1960s.”

Today’s generation of Trident-missile-carrying submarines are the size of small aircraft carrier and more complex to build than the Space Shuttle, say the Royal Navy.

For half a century our nuclear submarines have patrolled waters around the world, deterring threats and providing the ultimate guarantee of our security,” said Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Operation Relentless is truly a national endeavour, from the families and friends who have supported our submariners for the past 50 years, to the thousands of British workers who continue to ensure our boats are among the best in the world.

As we to look to the future, it is important we acknowledge the incredible commitment thousands of men and women have made in the past and continue to make, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said:

“Delivery of our nation’s strategic nuclear deterrent is the first duty of the Royal Navy – and Defence as a whole; the importance of this operation and the incredible feat of engineering and logistics that underpins this enormously complex capability, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, cannot be underestimated. The Continuous At-Sea Deterrence is the longest sustained military operation ever undertaken by the UK and this 50th anniversary year presents a valuable opportunity to recognise and thank those from the Naval Service and their families, the wider Ministry of Defence and our many industrial partners who have contributed to this vital national endeavour. 

As we begin our commemoration of this remarkable milestone, it’s fitting that we recognise the extraordinary dedication and professionalism demonstrated by our submariners, through the introduction of a new silver deterrent pin, which signifies completion of at least ten deterrent patrols. Their service at sea in our Vanguard class nuclear submarines lies at the heart of this mission’s continued success and I’m pleased to be presenting the first six of these new silver deterrent pins today.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. The ultimate deterrent crewed by our finest.

    There’s never much opportunity to thank our submariners, so let me take this one, in sending to you my sincere gratitude in keeping our nation safe and free.

    Can you please send a silver deterrent pin to Jeremy Corbyn, asking that he wears it in support of our Nation and our freedom?
    Sorry for the politics…again!

  2. These patrols are the most successful in history. No aggression has been unleashed against the US, UK, or France. That is the definition of successful deterrence. Its been worth every cent.

  3. We should build 5 new Drednought class like we originally planed to build back in Polaris days. 5 would give the submariners a better home life and UK slightly better options. Is it 3 months at a time these Boats go out for again?

  4. Building 5 boats would open up a legal challenge under NPT, previously the uk pledged to build only 3 so four is already an increase.

    • NPT was a dead letter the day it was signed same as every other disarmament. Treaties like it are just an excuse to cut defense spending to buy votes and serve only to weaken the Nations before the next war.
      Every treaty aimed at the reduction of weapons and hostility throughout history has failed from Greece and Troy to Rome and Carthage on into more modern times with the Great Powers attempting and failing to curtail the size of their Armies and Navies before WWI and II. The Nuclear treaties operate under the same flawed logic that 1. All weapons are known and 2. That their is any other enforcement mechanism besides Fear to enforce compliance. Fear (often dressed up as deterrence) is the only mechanism of the maintenance of peace. Not agreements, not disapproval, and not a legal challenge (as if those have ever stopped a Nation-State from doing anything).
      Failure in the maintenance of Fear equals War it is that simple.

  5. Martin is that the NPT that Putinhas already broken, run roughshod over by reinvesting in and deploying intermediate range nuclear armed ballistic missiles?
    Or he iscircumventing with his use of subsurface nuclear armed drones?
    I think we need to get serious here. Russia under Putin cannot be trusted. If it was not for his own ego and going down in history as the man that caused WW3 the UK would probably already be under attack.
    So yes god bless our armed forces, thank god for our deterrence. Let’s hope no mad crazy psychopath (like Putin, trained KGB assassin) is stupid enough to cause us to use our weapons.
    Corbyn is unelectable. Anyone that thinks they would sleep soundly in their beds safe in the knowledge that Corbyn has the iron will to protect our nation against all foes is sadly deluded. Teresa May should outwardly wear a submarine pin and ask Corbyn in parliament directly why he has not got one on?
    Just wish we had a more coherent and powerful conventional forces. More astute subs, more typhoon, back upto 13 type 26. More than 9 Poseidon aircraft. More than 48 active F35Bs in service. The list of our thin blue line goes on and on. Too many capability gaps or thinly papered over and inadequate force structures.

  6. My concern is the thin blue line. The fear of nuclear weapons didn’t stop Russian invasion of the Crimea. They only stave off mutual nuclear attack. Boots on the ground are not impeded by them as we’ve seen. Graduall invasion can go on regardless, if defence on the ground is inadequate, see Ukraine.

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