Churchill (S46)

Built By: Vickers (Barrow)
Build Group: SSN Group 3
Fate: Decommissioned in 1991 and laid up at Rosyth awaiting disposal

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HMS Churchill was the first of three Churchill class nuclear fleet submarines which served with the Royal Navy. The others were Conqueror and Courageous.

Churchill was chosen to trial the first full-size submarine pump jet propulsion system. Trials of a high-speed unit were followed by further trials with a low-speed unit, and these were successful enough for the same propulsion to be fitted in the rest of the class.

The boat was named after the former Prime Minister and First Lord of the Admiralty Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill is one of the few warships to have been named during the lifetime of her namesake. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill had insisted that submarines be named rather than numbered, as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives in the silent service.

HMS Churchill had the distinction of being the last nuclear submarine to be refitted at Chatham Dockyard.

The boat was launched at Barrow by Lady Mary Soames on December 20 in 1968 and the estimated building cost was 24,780,000 pound.

HMS Churchill was based on the older Valiant class but featured many internal improvements. The main sonar array was Type 2001 which was supplemented by a 2007 flank array and a nonretractable towed array. Two periscopes were fitted, a binocular search periscope and a monocular attack periscope with a built-in sextant.

Like all nuclear-powered submarines Churchill could remain submerged almost indefinitely, with supplies of food being the only limiting factor. HMS Churchill evaluated both the American Mark 48 torpedo and the UCM-84 Harpoon missile, though only the latter was adopted by the Royal Navy.

She was decommissioned in 1991 and is laid up at Rosyth awaiting disposal.


30-06-1967 : Laid Down
20-12-1968 : Launched
15-07-1970 : Completed


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Conqueror (S48)