LONDON — The first of the Royal Navy’s future ballistic nuclear missile submarines will be known as HMS Dreadnought, the UK Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.
The decision revives a famous old name that has been carried by nine British fighting ships since the 16th Century, including the revolutionary battleship launched in 1906 and the country’s first nuclear-powered submarine.
All four of the 17,200-tonne ‘successor’ SSBNs will now be known as the Dreadnought class, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said in an announcement timed to mark the 211th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar (during which the sixth ship to bear the name captured a Spanish warship) and the 56th anniversary of the launch of the pioneering SSN at Barrow in northern England.
“We cannot know what dangers we might face in the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s, so we are building the new Dreadnought class,” Fallon said.
“Along with increasing the defense budget to buy new ships, more planes, and armored vehicles, this commitment shows we will never gamble with our security.”
The tenth Dreadnought and her three sisters will be constructed by BAE Systems at the same shipyard, where two weeks ago Fallon participated in a steel-cutting ceremony for the lead ship.
Due to replace the existing Vanguard-class SSBNs in the continuous-at-sea-deterrent role from 2028, they are being designed and built in close co-operation with the U.S. Navy’s Columbia-class SSBN program.