The Royal Navy was caught off guard when allegations of sexual abuse and mistreatment towards female crew members of the Submarine Services made headlines in the country on Friday, October 28. The allegations prompted a quick response from the First Sea Lord Admiral Ben Key, who said that he has been disturbed by the “abhorrent” behaviour and anyone found guilty of the charges will be held accountable.

“I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be,” he quipped.

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“These allegations are abhorrent. Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated,” the admiral continued.

What is Royal Navy’s Submarine Service?

The Submarine Service is one of the five fighting departments of the Royal Navy. It is also known as the Silent Service for its requirement to be operated without detection. It was founded more than a century ago in 1901 and its motto is “We Come Unseen”.

The service includes six fleet submarines of Trafalgar and Astute classes. It also has as many as four submarines of Vanguard class, which is also the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent. All submarines of this service are nuclear-powered.

The HMS Dolphin was the senior submariner of the Royal Navy for several years, however, it switched to the Northwood Headquarters in 1978. The HMS Raleigh at Torpoint, Cornwall acts as the Submarine School of the Royal Navy. Commodore Paul Dunn OBE is the incumbent commander of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service. 

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Several more submarines are being built by the Royal Navy at present. Out of the seven Astute Class submarines that were planned, five have been commissioned and are in active service. The remaining two submarines are still being constructed. 

The Astute class submarines are the biggest nuclear-powered submarine to have served the Royal Navy. These are powered by Rolls Royce PWR2 reactors, which were designed for Vanguard class submarines.