Royal Navy submarine home after 11-month patrol

The Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant is due to return to its base-port in Plymouth after an 11-month patrol.

The nuclear-powered departed HM Naval Base, Devonport, on 22 June 2012 and when it returns on Wednesday will have been away for 335 days - one of the longest Trafalgar Class submarine deployments.

At continued high readiness as the United Kingdoms frontline strike asset, the submarine spent 267 days east of Suez, continuing the nuclear-powered submarine presence that has been established there since 2001.

Operating under joint command, the submarine has completed several periods of national tasking and contributed to NATO operations against terrorism and counter narcotics.

HMS Trenchant’s commanding officer, Commander Irvine Lindsay said:

“It is believed that this 11-month period away from the UK is the longest ever UK nuclear submarine deployment. The ship’s company have met every challenge head-on.

"They have achieved success on operations, maintaining the material state of the submarine in a harsh environment and demonstrating the unique and potent military utility of the submarine.

“Whilst I am enormously proud of the achievements of my ship’s company I do not believe that they are a unique body of men.

"I am convinced that the resilience, dedication, professional pride and sheer grit demonstrated by this ship’s company is indicative of the high calibre of personnel serving across the whole of the submarine service and indeed the Royal Navy.”

During this time the vessel has visited six different ports: Fujairah, UAE; the British Indian Ocean Territory – Diego Garcia; the Kingdom of Bahrain; Aqaba, Jordan; Souda Bay, Crete; and Gibraltar.

The submarine hosted visits from defence attaches to personnel from foreign armed forces; whilst on a lighter note the Royal Navy sports teams had mixed results against local sides.

HMS Trenchant conducted training and multi-national exercises with seven UK warships, a French submarine, multiple US warships and auxiliaries, a US submarine and a range of multinational aircraft - to develop the ability to conduct joint operations.

The deployment has spanned 38,800nm (the equivalent of 1 ¾ times around the world) and the submarine has spent over 4700 hours underwater (equivalent of 6 ½ months). Of the crew of 170 (of which 130 is the maximum at sea), 7 have been ‘Black watch’ (i.e. have been onboard, and not been home, for the entire trip).

The long patrol means the crew has consumed 30,240 eggs, this would take 45 hens laying two eggs per day the length of the deployment to achieve; 7,904 litres of milk, the average dairy cow produces 5ltr a day this would take 4.3 years for one cow to produce and 20,592 sausages (called Snorkers by submariners), - laid end to end these would stretch approx 2km in length.

The chefs have cooked 103,350 meals, and produced over 44,000 homemade rolls.

Amidst the operational patrol training of Royal Navy personnel also continued on board, including brand new trainee submariners (of which 37 have qualified and earned their ‘Dolphins’ qualifications) as well as trainee principal warfare officers – senior lieutenants that are being prepared to take delegated charge of the boat for 12 hours a day.

The crew of HMS Trenchant is looking forward to returning home, enjoying some leave and readying the boat for the future.

It is believed that this 11-month period away from the UK is the longest ever UK nuclear submarine deployment.

Commander Irvine Lindsay