Navy

Royal Navy’s Submarine Service Marks 50 Years Of Nuclear Deterrence

Since 1969, at least one Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine has been at sea on patrol.

HRH The Princess Royal at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Royal Navy).

Serving Royal Navy submariners, veterans, families and support workers have marked 50 years of the Continuous At Sea Deterrent (CASD) at HM Naval Base Clyde on Friday.

Since 1969, at least one Royal Navy ballistic missile submarine has been at sea on patrol, providing the UK’s continuous nuclear deterrent.

HRH The Princess Royal HM Naval Base Clyde
The Continuous At Sea Deterrent is officially as Operation Relentless (Picture: Royal Navy).

During that entire time, the submarines and their crews have operated from and been supported by HM Naval Base Clyde in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

In recognition of this service, Faslane hosted a military parade in front of HRH The Princess Royal.

Princess Anne arrives at HM Naval Base Clyde 050719 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
Princess Anne arrives attended the event at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Royal Navy).

Rear Admiral John Weale, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines, said:

"It is a massive landmark for the UK, the commitment and dedication that's gone into keeping a submarine at sea, on continuous patrol, 24 hours, seven days a week for 50 years, is a huge national endeavour." 

The mission began with the Resolution-class submarines in 1969 and transferred to the Vanguard class in the 1990s.

In the future the new Dreadnought class, ballistic submarines will come into service and also be based at HM Naval Base Clyde, ensuring the mission's next 50 years.

Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel form up at HM Naval Base Clyde 050719 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel were at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Royal Navy).

"If we stopped our patrols nothing might happen tomorrow, but in months or maybe years it would," said Captain David Pollock.

"Deterrence is about invulnerability and credibility."

Captain Pollock commanded both attack and Trident boats in a 36-year career as a submariner and believes passionately in the deterrence.

According to him, "happiness is a quiet patrol where nothing happens".