HMS Valiant (S102)

The sixth and most recent HMS Valiant was the second of Britain's nuclear-powered submarines, and the first of the two-unit Valiant class. She was ordered on 31 August 1960, laid down 22 January 1962, launched on 3 December 1963 by Lady Thorneycroft, and finally entered service 18 July 1966.

Valiant in Florida in 1994
United Kingdom
Name: Valiant
Ordered: 31 August 1960
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs
Laid down: 22 January 1962
Launched: 3 December 1963
Commissioned: 18 July 1966
Decommissioned: 12 August 1994
Status: Laid up
General characteristics
Class and type: Valiant-class submarine
  • 4,200 long tons (4,300 t) surfaced
  • 4,900 long tons (5,000 t) submerged
Length: 285 ft (87 m)
Beam: 33 ft 3 in (10.13 m)
Draught: 27 ft (8.2 m)
  • 20 knots (23 mph; 37 km/h) surfaced
  • 28 knots (32 mph; 52 km/h) submerged
Range: Unlimited, except by food supplies
Complement: 116
Armament: 6 × 21 inch (533 mm) bow torpedo tubes

Operational history

She was refitted in 1970, 1977 and 1989.

In 1977 Valiant was trailing a Soviet submarine in the eastern Mediterranean when she suffered a salt water pipe leak, which flooded the reactor compartment with sea water. The reactor was shut down and the compartment pumped dry and after a clean-up of the compartment, the reactor was taken under power again.[1] Valiant took part in the Falklands War in 1982, arriving in the war zone on 17 May.[2] She transmitted more than 300 early air-warning alerts and spent 101 days on patrol off Argentina's Patagonian coast. Valiant suffered minor damage while submerged when an Argentine aircraft coming back from a mission jettisoned its bombs near the submarine.[3]

In November 2010, it was reported in Hansard that Valiant had run aground in the North Norwegian Sea in March 1991.[4]

Following the development of engine trouble in June 1994, she was paid off on 12 August 1994.

Her hull and reactor are currently laid up afloat at Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, Devon, until facilities are available for the long term storage of her radioactive components.

Courageous was selected for the museum ship to represent the SSN fleet of the Royal Navy during the Cold War. Components were removed from Valiant to restore Courageous.


  1. Hennessy & Jinks 2016, pp. 356–357
  2. Middlebrook 2016, p. 194
  3. West, Nigel (2010). Historical Dictionary of Naval Intelligence. Scarecrow Press, pp. 63-64. ISBN 0-8108-6760-5
  4. Commons Debate, 2 November 2010


  • Ballantyne, Iain (2014). Hunter Killers: The Dramatic Untold Story of the Royal Navy's Most Secret Service. London: Orion. ISBN 978-1-4091-3901-0.
  • Hennesey, Peter; Jinks, James (2016). The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service since 1945. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-241-95948-0.
  • Middlebrook, Martin (2012). The Falklands War. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84884-636-4.|
  • Moore, John, ed. (1982). Janes Fighting Ships 1982–83. Jane's Publishing. p. 547. ISBN 0-7106-0742-3.
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