Britain unveils HMS Warspite as third in BIGGEST ever nuclear-armed submarines

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HMS Warspite was unveiled by First Sea Lord Admiral Philip Jones with a series on posts on Twitter.

The boat is the third of four new Royal Navy submarines set to be built in Britain to be armed with the Trident nuclear missiles.

It will be part of the £31billion project to replace the vessels currently carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent. 

Royal Navy bosses had already announced the first two in class – with HMS Dreadnought and HMS Valiant. 

Known as the Dreadnought-class, the submarines will be biggest ships over their kind ever constructed for the UK.

“Submarines that for generations to come will maintain our solemn duty as the ultimate guarantor of our nation’s security.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Philip Jones

Admiral Jones wrote: “There can be no doubt that the name Warspite is a highly distinguished capital ship name, and entirely befitting one of our future SSBNs.

“Submarines that for generations to come will maintain our solemn duty as the ultimate guarantor of our nation’s security.”

He added: “Like her sister submarines, the name Warspite has a highly distinguished lineage.”

Seven ships in the Royal navy have previously been named Warspite – with the first being in 1596 which served as Sir Walter Raleigh’s flagship in the Battle of Cadiz.

HMS Warspite

DREADNOUGHT: HMS Warspite is the third in class to be announced of Britain’s new submarines (Pic: ROYAL NAVY)

The most famous was the seventh the bear the name, the Queen Elizabeth-class battleship that sailed during World War 1 and World War 2.

She earned the most battle honours of any Royal Navy ship, and also fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 – earning the nickname the Grand Old Lady.

Warspite was also a submarine of the Valiant-class that sailed during the Cold War until 1991. 

And the latest Warspite is expected to enter service in the early 2030s, while the first in her class Dreadnought will join the Royal Navy in 2028.

Trident

NUCLEAR: Britain’s subs are responsible for looking after the UK’s Trident missiles (Pic: GETTY)

Vanguard

OLD GUARD: Britain’s four Vanguard submarines will be replaced by Warspite and the Dreadnoughts (Pic: GETTY)

Warspite – like the rest of her sister subs – will be 17,200 tons, more than 500ft long and powered by a nuclear reactor.

Armed with 12 missile tubes, the vessel will carry Britain’s nukes on the Trident missiles. 

She will also be bristling with torpedo tubes should she ever need to defend herself in combat.

The four Dreadnought-class vessels will replace the four Vanguard submarines, HMS Vanguard, HMS Victorious, HMS Vengeance and HMS Vigilant.

Dreadnought

FACTFILE: Dreadnought, Valiant, Warspite and the fourth ship will be the biggest of their kind (Pic: BAE)

It is expected Warspite will be carrying the same Letters of Last Resort – the final orders of the Prime Minister – as the Vanguards.

The letter is issued to each submarine should the British government be destroyed in nuclear war. 

Handwritten notes are sealed in envelopes and kept locked inside a safe aboard each Vanguard, with only the PM knowing exactly what has been said. 

Previous PM’s letters are immediately destroyed without ever being opened – with the orders either to launch a nuclear strike or not retaliate against the attacking power.

There is also the option to hand full authority to the Vanguard commander, giving them the power to launch a strike or the option to surrender control of the sub to an ally such as the US.

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