HMS Victorious arrives in Plymouth

HMS Victorious, a Vanguard-class submarine, is set to rejoin the Royal Navy after undergoing a comprehensive modernisation through a £560 million life extension program. Babcock and the UK’s Submarine Delivery Agency have entered into a contract to conduct deep maintenance and future-proofing on the Vanguard-class vessel.

Having arrived in Plymouth last year, HMS Victorious is currently undergoing a program that will ensure its operational readiness for patrols extending well into the 2030s. This initiative, the second of its kind at Babcock’s Devonport facility in Plymouth, is vital for the Vanguard fleet’s contribution to Operation Relentless, the UK military’s longest-running operation.

As the second Vanguard-class submarine to undergo this life extension at Babcock’s Devonport facility, HMS Victorious plays a crucial role in maintaining the continuous at-sea deterrent posture initiated by Operation Relentless in 1969. Vice Admiral Martin Connell, Second Sea Lord, emphasised the significance of this, stating that the overhaul of HMS Victorious is essential for continued deterrent patrols until the introduction of the next generation of submarines, the Dreadnought-class.

The maintenance program is taking place at Babcock’s Devonport facility, which is experiencing substantial investment to bolster the naval base’s capabilities. Beyond supporting the upkeep of existing and future submarine classes, this effort will enhance Devonport Dockyard’s capacity to undertake major defence projects.

The project’s impact extends to job sustainability, with over 1,000 positions maintained in the south-west region through the maintenance work on HMS Victorious. Babcock is also contributing to workforce development through its Plymouth-based Babcock Skills Academy, emphasising submarine support and the critical nuclear skills required for deep submarine maintenance.

The Vanguard-class submarines, including HMS Victorious, will eventually be succeeded by the Dreadnought-class submarines, expected to enter service in the early 2030s.

Read the Royal Navy press release here.