ON the 31st May last year, HMS Victorious sailed across Plymouth Sound in the most intense security operation has the ballistic missile submarine made its way into Devonport Naval Base for a planned refit

HMS Victorious being escorted by Plymouth’s tugs

The British government has announced – HMS Victorious – will be modernised under a new £560 million contract following an agreement with Babcock. 

The MOD says the contract will boost the local economy and support 1,000 jobs in Western Europe’s largest naval base.  

HMS Victorious making its way across the Sound

Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “In an increasingly dangerous world, it is crucial that we continue to invest in one of our most important assets, our nuclear deterrent.”  

The CEO of Babcock, David Lockwood, said: “Delivering the programme for this vital and complex defence asset is our top priority.” “We are proud to have been awarded this complex defence programme which will use our deep engineering expertise to help keep Britain safe,” he said. 

The Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Martin Connell, added: “Royal Navy performs no more important mission than Operation Relentless, the continuous at sea strategic deterrent patrols which have been performed by our submariners uninterrupted since 1969.”    

“The mission requires an unprecedented national effort in support, maintaining our Vanguard-class submarines to the very highest engineering standards.” 

The work on HMS Victorious will allow the boat to carry on patrols until the next generation of submarines, the Dreadnought-class enters service in the 2030s. 

HMS Vanguard leaving Plymouth on May 9th 2023

Earlier on May 9th, 2023, over 18,000 people watched live on our Westward Shipping News 24 hour webcam as the UK’s oldest nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vanguard finally left Plymouth – after 7 years of maintenance and went back to the Clyde. 

HMS Vanguard sailing past Plymouth Hoe

The original budget for the work was £200 million, but final costs was more than £500 million, and took four years longer than planned, and included an unscheduled refuelling of its nuclear reactor after a radiation leak was discovered in the cooling circuit of the shore-based reactor at Dounreay, known as HMS Vulcan.