Britain’s fleet of four nuclear-armed Vanguard-class submarines is operating at half capacity, with its flagship sub still in dry dock despite a re-dedication ceremony this summer. 

HMS Vanguard  went for a “deep maintenance period” in 2015 after radiation was detected in its coolant water in January 2012. The overhaul was supposed to last for three and a half years but it was only released back to the Royal Navy on July 17 – at a cost of over £500 million. However, the sub has remained in dry dock in Devonport, Plymouth and engineering tests undertaken in September have highlighted even more technical issues. 

A source at the Devonport dockyard told the Express that they want to return Vanguard to base at Faslane in Scotland as “quickly as possible” but it was “not going anywhere soon.” 

“The submarine is peppered with defects and needs a lot of work before she leaves here.” they added. 

Plans to send another sub in for overhaul have compounded the problems for the Royal Navy.  It now has just two submarines to maintain its policy of so-called “Continuous at-Sea Deterrence” – one sub always out at sea ready to carry out a nuclear attack. 

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said: “This is another example of years of MoD overruns – on both costs and delivery: this is double the time expected for completion and it’s still not right. And what about the risks to personnel running the remaining subs doing double the patrols they’re meant to do? We need to call time on these weapons of mass destruction. They’re a health and safety nightmare, a massive waste of resources, and if ever used – which is looking more and more likely – they’ll destroy us all.”