October 9, 2017

Mutiny? on HMS Vigilant nuclear missile submarine.

HMS Vigilant, with crew, in happier times (Photo courtesy Royal Navy, 2012)

What do you call it when:

1.  the Captain of nuclear missile submarine HMS Vigilant (SSBN) is removed for an inappropriate
     relationship with a female crew member,

2.  then his second in command (Executive Officer) is also removed – same reason – different female
     crew member, and

3.  then it is revealed these shenaniganssparked anger among crew members, with five [officers]
     threatening to resign?

This is very serious on account of HMS Vigilant constituting Britain’s whole active nuclear deterrent during the three to six months it is on patrol. During that period the other three Vanguards would be inactive while training or being overhauled. 

This Lockheed Martin document [PDF 10MB] also raises a third activity on page 6 - that is the Vanguards also regularly have their rented Trident missiles [right click mouse to translate] restocked at the US-UK Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT) at the US SSBN Base at King's Bay, Georgia. 

Kings Bay Base is large, at 16,000 acres and employing 9,000 people. A likely photo of US-UK Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic's giant SSBN sheds is below - courtesy French Wikipedia

See inside one shed [on page 1. same PDF 10MB]

A.  In view of the Vigilant Scandal the issue of having female crew on UK and US SSBNs is likely to
      be reviewed.

B.  The five officer threat to resign from what is a front line vessel might approach mutiny by some
      definitions. The most famous Mutiny on the Bounty was much more insignificant in comparison.
      HMS Bounty was an ex-collier only mounting 4 to 14 small guns. Vigilant is more a like a whole
      fleet in one vessel – mounting up to 16 city smashing “guns”.



MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

it sounds Royal Navy has to few women aboard their submarines to satisfy all officers.

The only acceptable reason for to resign would be negligence of duties by the 4 persons involved.

I'll have to view a good movie now:


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Rather, Mutiny on economy is possible. UK has 4 SSBNs and 3 SSNs and additional 4 SSNs are underbuilding or planning. This arrangement is beyond economic capacity of UK. In fact, UK NHS is dysfunctional due to lack of budget.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile things may not be better with USN. The CO and XO of the USS McCain were relieved (not a surprise given the $$$$ US taxpayers will need to fork out for the repairs). On top, surveys since 2015 (3 years running) of the crews on the Ticonderoga class USS Shiloh sums to "it is a prison". USN 7th fleet needs to shape up given its forward basing.

Anonymous said...

2 men, 1 man working on SSBN training and the other, a crew on an Ohio SSBN died of presumed cocaine overdose at a submarine base in Georgia. There is an opoid crisis in the US, but what is going on within USN?

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 18/10/17 5:03 PM]

Looks like the USN has a helpful drug program in Naples, Italy at least - see https://www.dvidshub.net/news/254225/us-naval-hospital-naples-encourages-patients-clean-out-their-medicine-cabinets