The UK Royal Navy is set to decommission its third and the oldest of the seven Trafalgar-class nuclear submarines, HMS Tireless (S88), in Plymouth today, marking the end of its 30-year operational life.
Upon being decommissioned, HMS Tireless will join 11 other former navy nuclear submarines, which are waiting to be dismantled at Devonport while the government is in search for a site to set out their radioactive reactors.
HMS Tireless will be replaced by the third Astute-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine, HMS Artful.
One of the last missions carried out by the navy’s longest-serving nuclear-powered submarine was to help in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in April.
Originally operated as one of the Cold War warriors, the vessel had been deployed for long, covert and often risky missions, patrolling the Atlantic for months.
During its service tenure since being commissioned in October 1985, it has also been tasked with several operations under the ice to the North Pole, East of Suez, Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as supporting submarine command courses and participating in several wide-ranging operations.
The Trafalgar-class submarines are powered by Rolls-Royce PWR1 pressurised water-cooled nuclear reactors, which further supply power to two General Electric steam turbines, delivering 15,000shp to one shaft.
The vessels also feature homing torpedoes, Raytheon Tomahawk Block IV land-attack cruise missiles (TLAM), two SSE Mk8 launchers for Type 2066 and Type 2071 torpedo decoys, an acoustic countermeasures system and an Eddystone communications-band electronic support measures (CESM) system.
Image: UK Royal Navy’s HMS Tireless submarine. Photo: courtesy of Schlendrian.