Valiant Churchill Class


Valiant Churchill Class

Nationality: United Kingdom

The Valiant Class was an enlarged Dreadnought design produced for the Royal Navy. Although ordered in 1960 the first boat was not completed until 1966. This was more than a year late. Priority had been given to the Royal Navy’s Resolution Class Polaris SSBN construction.

Based on the earlier Dreadnought design the new class had a British reactor and equipment. The first boat was followed by a sister ship and then three others which had a slightly different design allowing them to operate more quietly.

When they entered service all the boats were equipped with Second World War torpedoes – the Mk 8 or the slightly more modern wire-guided Mk 23. Their mines were little better – the Mk 5 ground and Mk 6 moored mines both dated back to the Second World War. During their service lives both torpedoes and mines were replaced with more modern types.

Three boats of this class Conqueror, Courageous and Valiant were involved in the 1982 Falklands Conflict. Conqueror became the first Royal Naval submarine since the Second World War to sink a hostile surface vessel when it torpedoed the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano on 2 May 1982.

As more capable and quieter boats came into service these five submarines were switched from ASW to anti-surface ship operations. Churchill and Conqueror were decommissioned in 1990. The other three submarines soldiered on past the end of the Cold War into the 1990s.

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