One of Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines, HMS Victorious, has arrived in Plymouth to begin a major refit, months after a fire onboard forced the vessel to resurface and return to its base at Faslane. 

A Royal Navy statement said the Vanguard-class submarine refit would take place at Babcock’s Devonport dockyard and that the multi-million, long-term programme would “sustain more than 1,000 jobs in the south west region and will see the boat modernised and improved to continue operational patrols into the 2030s.”

The refit comes just months after it was reported that a fire onboard Victorious forced the sub to resurface – something seldom done for security reasons – and then to abandon its mission and return to base at Faslane. The Navy source told The Telegraph that Victorious wasn’t armed at the time and was en route to the US for training exercises.

Victorious is the latest of Britain’s nuclear-armed subs to undergo maintenance. The last vessel to do so, HMS Vanguard took seven years to complete at an estimated cost of over £500 million. However, the work was supposed to take three years at a cost of £200 million. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: 

“The last major refit of a nuclear-armed submarine by Babcock finished four years late, hundreds of millions over budget, and at one point workers used superglue to fix broken bolts on the vessel’s nuclear reactor. While the Navy is happy to boast about securing jobs for the industry, its statement gives only a vague cost estimate and no timeline for completion. Just as BAE Systems successfully adapted its production line to make ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government should be moving these skilled jobs away from military to socially useful production.”

Image Credit: Royal Navy / Barry Swainsbury