The UK Royal Navy will name its third Dreadnought class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) as HMS Warspite, the UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced.
Like her sister submarines, the name Warspite has a highly distinguished lineage. The first ship to bear the name was a galleon commissioned in 1596 which served as Raleigh’s flagship in the Battle of Cadiz, where she earned the first of 25 battle honours. Three more ships named Warspite would feature prominently in the history books throughout the age of sail, participating in the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Seven Years War; the last of these was latterly lent to the Marine Society to become a static training ship on the Thames.
The 6th Warspite was of a very different era, a French-inspired Imperieuse Class armoured cruiser. She served as flagship on the Pacific Station and was sold to be broken up in 1905.
The 7th Warspite, commissioned in 1915, covered herself with glory. Nicknamed the ‘Grand Old Lady’ she was a battleship of the Queen Elizabeth Class, the most revolutionary since Fisher’s DREADNOUGHT; she was oil rather than coal powered, and with the first 15-inch guns.
The last vessel to bear the name Warspite was the third Royal Navy nuclear submarine, commissioned in 1967. The details of her service during the Cold War remain shrouded in secrecy, but she was highly regarded throughout her 24 years’ service.
The Dreadnought class is the future replacement for the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines operated by the UK Royal Navy. Like their predecessors they will carry UGM-133A Trident II (D5) submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).
Once built, the submarines will measure 153.6m long, with a displacement of 17,200 tonnes. They are being delivered by the newly-formed Dreadnought Alliance, a joint management team established between the UK MOD, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.
Initially named Successor class, it was officially announced on 21 October 2016 (to mark Trafalgar Day) that the first of class would be named Dreadnought, and that the class would be the Dreadnought class. The next three boats will also be given names with “historical resonance”. On Dec. 6 2018, the second boat of the class was named as HMS Valiant.
Construction on the first of four new Dreadnought submarines started in October 2016 at the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard operated by BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines. The first submarine was initially expected to enter service in 2028.
The start of construction of the second phase was announced in May 2018. As of 2018, the Ministry of Defence expects the submarines to enter service in the early 2030s, for a cost of £31 billion.