HMS Spartan, a 1982 Falklands’ conflict veteran hunter-attack submarine this week left HM Naval Base Clyde for the last time following a successful 28 years of service with the Royal Navy.
Sailing out of the Gareloch with her 45 m decommissioning pennant blowing in the breeze Commander Paul Halton, the Captain of Spartan said: “It is sad leaving Faslane for the last time. Over the years, the teams on the base have given us exceptional support to keep Spartan ready for operations and of course keeping the crew fed, watered and happy when alongside.”?
Prior to her last sailing, and as is traditional in the Navy, a decommissioning ceremony was held on January 20 to mark the successful completion of her service and to thank the men who have served in the Swiftsure class submarine over the years.
Guest of honour at the ceremony was former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Raymond Lygo KCB who’s late wife, Lady Emily Lygo, was the boat’s sponsor having originally named and launched her in 1978. She was commissioned in 1979.
“˜Courage with great endurance’, the submarine’s motto is fitting for a boat whose life began just before the Falkland Islands conflict in which she played an important role and was afforded battle honours for her part during Operation Corporate in 1982 where she spent 74 days dived in operations against Argentine Forces.
Spartan’s last patrol was one of the most successful yet, having completed a five month long global deployment which saw her cover some 30,000 miles, transit three oceans and visit four continents before returning home just in time for Christmas 2005.
During this South Atlantic and Gulf deployment she conducted patrols and also found time to enjoy visits to Rio de Janeiro, La Reunion, Fujairah and Dubai.
Their goodwill port visit to Rio de Janeiro was a particular highlight as this was the first time that a Royal Navy nuclear powered warship had visited Brazil in twenty years and the boat’s crew conducted a two day exercise with the Brazilian Navy to further develop training and cooperation between the forces. Whilst there crew members also visited an orphanage where they helped to refurbish a children’s’ basketball court and cleared some land allowing a new accommodation building to be started.
HMS Spartan belongs to the Swiftsure class nuclear submarines which have a dived displacement of 4.900 tons and is 82 metres long. She’s armed with five tubes capable of firing Spearfish Torpedoes; Sub Harpoon missiles; Tomahawk missiles plus state of the art sensors, sonar and electronic warfare equipment.
Over the years the hunter killer; capable of detecting and destroying both surface and submerged targets has been involved in tracking, intelligence gathering, patrolling areas of heightened tension and remaining at readiness to deploy Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.
Although Spartan’s departure is one less submarine at HMNB Clyde, the Royal Navy’s new generation of attack submarines, the Astute class, will be base-ported at Faslane and will replace both the Swiftsure class and ultimately the Trafalgar class too.
The Astute class will be the largest and most capable attack submarines ever built for the Royal Navy, with the first vessel due on the Clyde in 2008