Update April 10/2015:
In the midst of the United Kingdom’s election politicking, the Conservative party has promised to build four new replacement subs for the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent. The Royal Navy currently uses SSBN Vanguard-class subs, with the UK government required to make a decision over whether to replace the current system by 2016. The debate over the UK’s nuclear deterrent program has become increasingly politicized, with the parties split over the program’s future.
Britain has announced a GBP 350 million (about $560M), 42 month contract for a 4th “complex overhaul” of its 15,000t SSBN Vanguard Class nuclear missile submarines. HMS Vengeance will require about 2.5 million man-hours of work, including installation of a new Mk.2 nuclear reactor core. As of March 2/12, the submarine was at Devonport ready to dock down, and will remain in dry dock until flood-up in late 2014.
HMS Vengeance is the last of the UK’s 4 SSBNs submarines to undergo the Long Overhaul Period and Refuel (LOP-R). HMS Vigilant has just completed hers, and departed for the sea on March 27/12. Vengeance may even mark the UK’s last-ever reactor refueling contract, as the Mk.2 reactor that powers Britain’s refitted Vanguards and new Astute Class fast attack boats never needs mid-life refueling. Vengeance’s work will reach far beyond her reactor, however…