Thursday, 9th May 2013
British submarine docks in Gibraltar after five-year break
HMS Talent in Gibraltar yesterday, the first visit by a Royal navy submarine in five years.
The British military were out in force in Gibraltar yesterday, including the first visit by a Royal
Navy nuclear submarine in five years.
The Trafalgar-class ‘hunter killer’ submarine HMS Talent slipped into Gibraltar early yesterday morning, escorted by vessels from the Gibraltar Squadron and the Gibraltar Defence Police.
As is routine in such cases, the Ministry of Defence disclosed no information about the submarine’s visit.
An one-line statement contained the standard line that HMS Talent was visiting Gibraltar “…for a short stay as part of her scheduled operational tasking.”
As the submarine slipped alongside the Z-berth on the South Mole, there was ample activity at the other end of Gibraltar.
Two Royal Air Force C-17 cargo planes were parked on the runway on undisclosed business.
Unusually, the planes were parked on the tarmac close the civilian side of the airfield and away from the military section.
The MoD said little about the presence of the planes in Gibraltar other than that they were on a routine operational deployment. A spokesman would not comment on whether the presence of the planes and the submarine were linked.
The Gibraltar Government welcomed the arrival in Gibraltar of HMS Talent.
“The movement of Royal Navy vessels is not a matter within the Constitutional competence of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“All vessels of the Royal Navy and of allied powers invited into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters by Her Majesty’s Government are very welcome on the Rock.”
The last visit by a British nuclear submarine was in 2008, when the Swiftsure-class HMS Superb called at the Rock.
HMS Talent is described by the Royal navy as a technically advanced, nuclear powered ‘hunter-killer’ submarine, the penultimate in a series of seven Trafalgar Class submarines. Launched by Princess Anne in Barrow in Furness in 1988, the submarine has conducted operations all around the world.
The principal role of the ‘hunter-killer’ is to attack ships and other submarines. In this capacity, vessels of this type could support and protect a convoy or taskforce.
HMS Talent can also be used in a surveillance role as it is fitted with cameras and thermal imaging periscopes.
HMS Talent is also fitted with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, which gives it a land attack role.