:: TRAFALGAR CLASS (1981-1991) ::

Trafalgar class attack submarine (1981-1991) High resolution picture

The Trafalgar class is a development of an advanced attack submarine based on the previous Swiftsure class, and launched between 1981 and 1991. The Royal Navy received seven units between 1983 and 1991, and as 2016 the first three units have been already decommissioned, after a service life of roughly thirty years. These units feature a rather wide hull of very clean surface - covered with anechoic tiles - and flattened top. The Trafalgar class is somewhat longer than the Swiftsure class by the inclusion of a 2.5-meter section but the internal layout is almost identical. It is equipped with reinforced fins and retractable hydroplanes to emerge through thick ice.

Only the first vessel of the class was built with a conventional propeller, as seen on the illustration; the rest of the units were fitted with a shrouded pump-jet propulsor to further reduce their noise signature. Besides, the machinery is mounted on insulating rafts to prevent the hull from receiving the vibrations. The Royal Navy claimed that these were on their time the most silent submarines in service. Other important onboard systems are two turbo-generators Allen of 3.2 megawatts, two Diesel alternators Paxman of 2.1 megawatts (2800 shaft horsepower) and one motor for emergency drive.

The galloping cost of these vessels is indicative of the problem that military institutions face thanks to the widespread privatization of the military industry. In 1976 the building cost of the first unit of the Swiftsure class was 37.1 millions of sterling pounds, whereas six years later the cost of the fourth unit of the Trafalgar class, fully equipped, reached 175 millions of pounds. And despite of possessing a large and successful SSN fleet, United Kingdom continued building conventional Diesel-electric submarines, showing an attitude alike to that of the Soviet Union and opposite to that of United States.

Trafalgar class: 7 units (S107 Trafalgar, S87 Turbulent, S88 Tireless, S90 Torbay, S91 Trenchant, S92 Talent, S93 Triumph)

Type: Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Length: 85.4 meters

Beam: 9.8 meters

Draught: 8.2 meters

Displacement (surfaced): 4500-4800 tonnes

Displacement (submerged): 5200-5300 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 2 x steam turbine General Electric, 1 x nuclear reactor Rolls-Royce PWR1, 15000 shaft horsepower

Speed (surfaced): 20 knots (37 kilometers/hour)

Speed (submerged): 32 knots (59.2 kilometers/hour)

Range: Theoretically unlimited

Operational depth: 400 meters

Complement: 130

Armament: 5 x 533-millimeter torpedo tube, 20 x torpedo/missile reload (Spearfish or Tigerfish torpedo, Tomahawk cruise missile, Sub-Harpoon antiship missile) or 50 x mine (Stonewall, Sea Urchin)

~ Return to Submarines ~

~ Return to Military Ships ~