British Churchill class, SSN-nuclear fleet submarines
A class of five boats, Valiant class, was ordered at the beginning of the 60’S from Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd (VSEL), Barrow and Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.
After a gap of 3 years from completion of the second boat, Warspite in 1967, The 3 Churchill class was conceived to supplement existing fleet submarines and build up nuclear submarine numbers. It terms of design it was a Valiant with no more then progressive modification as can be expected in any lengthy production run.
The principle role of these SSNs, `hunter-killer`, vessels is to attack ships and other submarines. In this capacity they could support and protect a convoy or taskforce. Additionally fleet submarines can be used in a surveillance role and since the introduction of Tomahawk, a land attack role.
When Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands in May 1982 two Churchill Class submarines, Conqueror and Courageous, sailed to the South Atlantic and participated in the campaign to retake the islands. HMS Conqueror is granted with the honor of being the first SSN in any navy to have sunk an enemy warship in combat, having launched 2 Mk 8 torpedoes against the Argentinean cruiser General Belgrano on May 2ed, 1982.
Specifications, Churchill class:
Displacement (srf/sub tons): 3,500/4,800
Dimensions (L*B*D feet/meter): 285`0*33`3*27`0/86.9*10.1*8.2
Propulsion: Rolls-Royce Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR-1) 15,000hp, 2*English Electric steam turbine, one screw
Speed (sub knots): 30
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet): 1000
Complement: 13 officers 90 enlisted
Missile: retro-fitted to fire Mc Donnell Douglas RN Sub Harpoon, SSM sub-launched anti-ship missiles
Torpedo: 6*21" (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes, can fire Mark 8 and Tigerfish torpedoes, total of 26 torpedoes or missiles reloads.
Mines: two Stonefish or Sea Urchin can be carried in place of one torpedo
Churchill (S-46) and Courageous (S-50) were built by Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd (VSEL) Barrow, Conqueror (S-48) by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead. All completed in1970-71.
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