The HM Submarine Repulse was built by Vickers Ltd. at Barrow-in-Furness. She was launched on 4th November 1967, by Lady Joan Zuckerman, wife of Sir Zolly Zuckerman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government, only to get stuck on a mudbank on Walney Island opposite the launch site.
HM Submarine Repulse was a nuclear powered submarine, more than 400 feet long and displaced over 7000 tons. She was designed to carry sixteen Type A3 Polaris missiles in addition to conventional torpedo armament.
First commissioned on the 28 September 1968. A two-crew system of manning was used, known as Port and Starboard crews. The 1st commission Commanding Officers were Port Crew - Commander JR Wadman and Starboard Crew - Commander AJ Whetstone.
HM Submarine Repulse was the second submarine to come into service as part of the Polaris programme. She was preceded by HM Submarine Resolution and then followed by Renown and Revenge.
The history of Polaris shows that with 229 unbroken patrols, it was a total success. Also with a mid-life update of Chevaline in 1982, it remained a credible deterrent throughout its operational life. The chapter came to an end in May 1996 when Repulse completed the final Polaris patrol and the reigns for the national deterrent passed to the Vanguard Class SSBN, equipped with Trident D5 missiles, she was finally decomissioned on the 28th August 1996.
Repulse itself was the most successful and reliable of the 10th Submarine Squadron. Her crews produced a continuing list of achievers (all now retired) developing from that period most notably were:
Propulsion: Single shaft Pressurised Water Reactor 1 (PWR1) nuclear plant, Two geared steam turbines = 15,000 shpDisplacement: Surfaced 7,500 tons, Submerged 8,400 tons.
Speed: In excess of 25 knots.
Endurance: Approximately 100,000 nautical miles.
Armaments: Sixteen A3 Polaris UGM-27c two stage SLBM, powered by solid Fuel rocket motors with a range of 2,500 miles. 6 x 21 inch Torpedo Tubes fitted in the ships bow.
Complement: 13 Officers and 137 Ratings.
Notes: The third and fourth boats of the class HMS/M Renown (S26) and HMS/M Revenge (S27) were built at Cammell Lairds at Birkenhead.
At the Nassau conference in December 1962, an agreement was reached between President J.F.Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Mc Millan to allow the Royal Navy to purchase the Polaris submarine launched Ballistic Missile System, to compensate for the cancellation of the Skybolt airborne strategic system in 1961. At a stroke, the Royal Navy took over total responsibility for Britain's nuclear deterrent from the Royal Air Force.
The development of the Polaris programme placed an enormous strain on both the Royal Navy and the industrial economy, but much to the credit of both, the programme came in on time, and more importantly, within budget.
The original plan was for five boats, but the incoming Labour Government cancelled the fifth boat as a political gesture. This decision placed enormous pressures on the Polaris Submarine Force, as it was pledged to have a boat on patrol at all times. Using two crews (Port and Starboard) and tight refit schedules, the "Bombers" carried out their patrols for thirty years without any undue fuss until the introduction of the Vanguard Class Trident Submarines
When the final Polaris patrol was completed in 1996, the four boats had carried out a total of 229 two month patrols between them.