Fear God and Dread Nought
There have been something like 10- 11 previous “Dreadnoughts” in the Royal Navy going back to a 40-gun ship built in 1553 to include the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought of 1906 which, with her “all-big-gun” armarment was literally the dividing line between old and new battleships.
With the name being such an icon of the Great War era, the Brits recycled it for their first nuclear-powered submarine, (S101) launched in 1960.
Now, the vintage and storied name has been tapped to bring what will likely be the last class of British ballistic missile submarines into the 21st Century.
The 17,200-ton SSBNs of her class will be capable of carrying 8-12 Trident D-5 SLBMs and will be the UKs sole nuclear deterrent– a role left to HMs submarines since the last WE.177C tactical nuclear bombs were retired from the RAF’s Tornado force in 1998.
At 152.9m (501ft) long, the new boats will be three metres longer than their V-boat predecessors, but displace 1,300 more tonnes.
Dreadnought is also due to be fitted with a new lighting system which can imitate night and day – making it easier for crew to get used to normal life after three months submerged.
There will be nearly 13,000 electrical items aboard, enough piping to cover the distance of a marathon and 20,000 pieces of cable stretching 215 miles, or from the boats’ future home in Faslane to Leeds.
For the first time in a British submarine, there’ll be a dedicated compartment for studying, a gym (rather than gym kit squeezed into odd spaces), and separate quarters for female crew.
When in full swing, the Dreadnought class will be the biggest defense project in the UK.