As Parliament prepares to re-examine the role of its submarine service in readiness for a vote on the renewal of Trident, and at a time when a potential shortage of maritime skills is causing greater concern, it is vital to reflect on the history of the UK’s submarine fleet, its capabilities, and its operations.
Britain’s submarine fleet has played a crucial role in Britain’s security and intelligence gathering operations since the end of the Second World War, and in 1969 it become Britain’s last line of national defence after taking control of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Nevertheless, despite featuring heavily in the 2015 SDSR, the future role and viability of the UK’s SSN and SSBN remains uncertain. Against this backdrop, a strong understanding of its historic role is more vital than ever.
At this crucial time, UK PONI is delighted to welcome Lord Peter Hennessy and Dr James Jinks, authors of The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945 (Puffin: 2015), to both offer their historical perspective, and assess future trends.