Military Wiki
HMS Torbay (S90)
HMS Torbay rounding Calshot Spit inbound to Southampton, 13 Nov 2010.
HMS Torbay rounding Calshot Spit, Southampton in November 2010.
Career (UK)
Builder: VSEL
Laid down: 3 December 1982
Launched: 8 March 1987
Sponsored by: Lady Ann Herbert
Commissioned: 7 February 1987
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
Fate: in active service, as of 2022
Badge: File:HMS Torbay crest.jpg
General characteristics [1]
Class & type: Trafalgar class submarine
Displacement: 4,800 tonnes, surfaced
5,300 tonnes, dived
Length: 85.4 m (280 ft)
Beam: 9.8 m (32 ft)
Draught: 9.5 m (31 ft)
Installed power: 15,000 shp (11 MW)
  • 1 x Rolls Royce PWR1 nuclear reactor
  • 2 x GEC steam turbines
  • 2 x WH Allen turbo generators; 3.2 MW
  • 2 x Paxman diesel alternators 2,800 shp (2.1 MW)
  • 1 x pump jet propulsor[Note 1]
  • 1 x motor for emergency drive
  • 1 x auxiliary retractable prop
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h) dived
Range: Unlimited, except by food supplies and maintenance requirements.
Complement: 130 (18 officers)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Ferranti/Gresham Dowty DCB/DCG or BAE Systems SMCS data system, Type 2072 hull-mounted flank array passive sonar, Plessey Type 2020 or Marconi/Plessey Type 2074 hull-mounted active and passive search and attack sonar, Ferranti Type 2046 or TUS 2076 towed array passive search sonar, Thomson Sintra Type 2019 PARIS or Thorn EMI 2082 passive intercept and ranging sonar, Marconi Type 2077 short range active classification sonar, Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I band navigation radar, Pilkington Optronics CK34 search periscope, Pilkington Optronics CH84/CM010 attack periscope
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • 2 × SSE Mk 8 launchers for Type 2066 and Type 2071 torpedo decoys
  • RESM Racal UAP passive intercept
  • CESM Outfit CXA
  • SAWCS decoys carried from 2002
  • 5 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes with stowage for up to 30 weapons:
  • HMS Torbay is a Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine of the Royal Navy and the fourth vessel of her class. Torbay is the fifth vessel and the second submarine of the Royal Navy to be named after Torbay in Devon, England. The first was the 80-gun second rate HMS Torbay launched in 1693.

    Torbay was the first vessel to be fitted with the new command system SMCS-NG and therefore the first British warship to be controlled using the Microsoft Windows operating system.

    Torbay is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015 and will be replaced by one of the new Astute class submarines.[3] As of 2015 she is undergoing extended maintenance and upgrades, with a return to service planned for summer 2013, which may allow a life extension beyond the current decommissioning date.

    Operational history

    Torbay completed a refuel and modernisation process in February 2001.[citation needed]

    Torbay underway in formation with the US oiler Leroy Grumman during Exercise Saxon Warrior 11.

    In early 2006, Torbay was the participant in an experiment in the use of colour schemes to reduce the visibility of submarines from the air. The standard black paint of Royal Navy submarines was replaced by a carefully selected shade of blue. This was the result of research that found that black was the worst possible colour for a submarine attempting to avoid detection from the air. This change is in part the result of the changing nature of Royal Navy commitments since the end of the Cold War, with Navy operations moving from the murky waters of the North Atlantic to the clearer waters of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.[4]

    In November 2010, it was reported in Hansard that Torbay had run aground in the Eastern Mediterranean in April 2009.[5]

    In May 2011, she took part in Exercise Saxon Warrior in the Western Approaches. The exercise included the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, HMS Dauntless, HMS Westminster and a number of other vessels and culminated in a 'Thursday War'.[6]

    In late 2011 she entered a Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP) at Devonport Royal Dockyard. This includes communications upgrades with installation of the Cromwell radio antenna to enhance internal communications and the ship alongside upgrade, plus inspection of the hull and reactor, an overhaul of one of the reactor coolers and upgrades to many other systems. As of September 2012 the RAMP was 85% complete, with a return to service planned for summer 2013.[7]

    In 2013, there was a fire on board.[8]

    In fiction

    HMS Torbay is featured in Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising, which saw the submarine engage and sink a Soviet Alfa-class submarine with Spearfish torpedoes.[citation needed]


    1. All boats have a pump jet propulsor with the exception of Trafalgar which was fitted with a 7-bladed conventional propeller.[2]

    Submarines, War Beneath The Waves, From 1776 To The Present Day, by Robert Hutchinson

    External links

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