HMS Tireless (S88)
HMS Tireless (S88) at the North Pole, April 2004
|Ordered:||5 July 1979|
|Builder:||Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, Barrow-in-Furness|
|Laid down:||6 June 1981|
|Launched:||17 March 1984|
|Sponsored by:||Sue Squires|
|Commissioned:||5 October 1985|
|Decommissioned:||19 June 2014|
|Homeport:||HMNB Devonport, Plymouth|
|Identification:||Pennant number: S88|
|Class and type:||Trafalgar-class submarine|
|Length:||85.4 m (280 ft)|
|Beam:||9.8 m (32 ft)|
|Draught:||9.5 m (31 ft)|
|Speed:||Over 30 knots (56 km/h), submerged|
|Electronic warfare |
HMS Tireless was the third Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine of the Royal Navy. Tireless is the second submarine of the Royal Navy to bear this name. Launched in March 1984, Tireless was sponsored by Sue Squires, wife of Admiral 'Tubby' Squires, and commissioned in October 1985.
During the Cold War Tireless was primarily involved in anti-submarine warfare patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. After the Cold War, Tireless was deployed around the world, including to the Arctic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean. At the end of its career, Tireless was involved in the search for the missing airliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The vessel experienced a number of serious accidents during its operational life.
Tireless had been scheduled for retirement during 2013, but its service was extended until eventual decommissioning on 19 June 2014. Tireless will be replaced on active duty by HMS Artful.
From commissioning in 1985, Tireless completed numerous exercises and visits around the world, including a trip to the Arctic in 1991, before entering a refit in early 1996, returning to sea in 1999.
Primary coolant leak
In May 2000, Tireless developed a serious leak in the nuclear reactor primary cooling circuit, although there was no leak of radioactive material. The nuclear propulsion system was shut down and using backup diesel power Tireless made way to Gibraltar. The damage was found to be more extensive than first thought, and the boat remained there pending repairs. This created diplomatic tension between Spain and Britain, until the submarine departed on 7 May 2001 after almost a year of extensive repairwork. During that year, all Trafalgar-class submarines were inspected for similar problems.
Collision with iceberg
On 13 May 2003, while on exercise in the Arctic and travelling at a depth of 60 metres, Tireless collided with an iceberg. There was no prior warning of the impending collision from passive sonar or other onboard sensors. The submarine's bow was forced down nine degrees and the vessel subsequently broke free of the iceberg at a depth of 78 metres. Some damage was sustained to the upper section of the boat. Before the incident, the Royal Navy had not conducted under-ice operations since 1996.
Tireless again angered Spain in 2004 when the boat put into Gibraltar from 9 to 15 July for what was explained as "technical reasons." Britain assured Spain that the port call was unrelated to the British celebrations, on 21 July, of the 300th anniversary of Spain handing over Gibraltar to Britain.
March 2007 explosion
On 21 March, two Tireless crew members, Leading Operator Mechanic Paul McCann and Operator Maintainer (Weapons Submariner) 2 Anthony Huntrod, were killed in an explosion on board, apparently caused by an oxygen generator candle in the forward section of the submarine. The boat was in service near the North Pole under ICEX-07 along with the USS Alexandria and had to make an emergency surface through the ice cap. A third crewmember suffered "non life-threatening" injuries and was airlifted to a military hospital at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. According to the Royal Navy, the accident did not affect the submarine's nuclear reactor, and the boat sustained only superficial damage. Part of the exercise was being used to measure ice thickness by using sonar. The film Stargate: Continuum—which was filming on the ice and in the Alexandria during the exercise—was dedicated to McCann and Huntrod.
From 9 July 2010 to 12 May 2011, Tireless undertook a ten-month deployment, spending 253 days at sea, the longest conducted by a Royal Navy submarine in ten years. During the deployment the boat passed through the Suez Canal for the first time, provided protection for the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle launching aircraft over Afghanistan, and called into the ports of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, Goa in India and Souda Bay in Crete. Tireless was also involved in a multi-nation anti-submarine exercise in the Gulf of Oman which saw the Australian frigate HMAS Melbourne and the French frigate FS Dupleix attempt to locate the submarine.
2012 South Atlantic deployment
In February 2012, it was reported that either Tireless or HMS Turbulent was being deployed to the Falkland Islands amid increasing tension between Argentina and the United Kingdom over sovereignty of the islands.
2013 Coolant leak
In early 2013 Tireless experienced a "small coolant leak that was contained within the sealed reactor compartment", requiring a return to HMNB Devonport for repair.
2013 Mediterranean deployment
Tireless was spotted off the Rock of Gibraltar amidst the tensions between Spain and the UK over the disputed territory of Gibraltar. It was suggested that this SSN could be a key vessel used to strike Syria if military action occurred.
2014 Indian Ocean search - Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
On 1 April 2014, Tireless arrived in the southern Indian Ocean to join the search for a missing Malaysian airliner, where its sophisticated underwater listening equipment was used in an unsuccessful attempt to detect the underwater locator beacon of the aircraft's flight recorders.
Final return to Plymouth
- HMS Tireless navy submarine ends service at Devonport, bbc.com, 19 June 2014
- "Trafalgar Class". Royal Navy. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Bush, Steve (2014). British Warships and Auxiliaries. Maritime Books. p. 12. ISBN 1904459552.
- "HMS Tireless leaves active service". Royal Navy. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
- Hansard HL Deb 14 March 2005 vol 670 c116WA quoted in House of Commons Defence Committee - Fourth Report, 12 Dec 2006
- John H. Large (March 2005), Forensic Assessments of the Nuclear Propulsion Plants of the Submarines HMS Tireless and RF Northern Fleet Kursk (PDF), Institution of Mechanical Engineers seminar: Forensic Investigation of Power Plant Failures, retrieved 2007-03-22
- "Nuclear sub leaves Gibraltar". BBC News. 7 May 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 02 Nov 2010 (pt 0001)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Summary - BOI into the Collison of HMS Tireless on 13 May 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- El 'Tireless' llega a la base naval de Gibraltar pese a las reiteradas protestas del Gobierno español, en diario El Mundo (spanish)
- Kindell, Don. "Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy, 1945-present". Archived from the original on 29 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- "Oxygen device sparked sub blast". BBC News. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- "2 sailors killed in UK nuclear submarine accident". CNN. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- "Tireless lives up to her name on ten month tour of duty". Navy News. May 2011.
- "HMS Tireless in multinational submarine exercise". Mod.uk. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Falkland Islands: Nuclear Submarine Sent By Royal Navy To South Atlantic, According To Reports". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. 4 February 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Ricks, Rebecca (19 February 2013). "Devonport submarine HMS Tireless back in Plymouth after reactor coolant leak". Plymouth Herald. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- Evans, Becky (26 August 2013). "British nuclear submarine 'surfaces off Gibraltar' as row with Spain heats up". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
- "Syria crisis: Western military options". BBC News. 30 August 2013.
- "MH370: UK submarine joins search for missing plane". BBC News.
- Malaysia Airlines MH370: Submarine joins search as Malaysian PM Najib Razak arrives to inspect efforts, ABC Online, 2 April 2014
- Telford, William (2 June 2014). "HMS Tireless returns to Plymouth for the final time before being decommissioned". The Hearld. Retrieved 2015-07-31.
- "HMS Tireless leaves active service". Royal Navy. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
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- Royal Navy HMS Tireless (royalnavy.mod.uk)