HMS Vigilant, one of UK's four Vanguard Class nuclear submarines, has officially been handed back to the Royal Navy for operational use.
The 15,000 tonne warship spent the last three years at Babcock's Devonport dockyard in Plymouth where 2.2 million man hours and £350 million were spent on refitting her.
Known as a Long Overhaul Period, the refit was an enormous engineering task.
Improved strategic weapons equipment and a new reactor core have been installed. The new core will enable HMS Vigilant to function until the end of her operational life without having to refuel again.
Commanding officer of HMS Vigilant, Commander Mark Lister, said: “A project of this size and complexity introduces many demanding challenges and the highly sophisticated nature of the work involved in the deep maintenance of these magnificent vessels is testament to the experience and skills of all those involved.
“The dedication, determination and synergy of Team Vigilant has ensured that she has been returned to full operation in excellent condition in the shortest of timescales.”
HMS Vigilant will now complete final preparations where she will fire a dummy Trident missile at a US test range before returning to her operational deterrent patrol cycle.
In March it was announced that HMS Vengeance will also undergo a refit at Babcock's Devonport dockyard in Plymouth. The project is also expected to take three years to complete.
All four of the UK's Vanguard Class submarines are based at HM Naval Base Clyde and are known as 'bombers' in the Royal Navy. Each vessel has 16 missile tubes and is armed with Trident II D5 nuclear missiles. The submarines have a 25-year life expectancy.
- Searching for a new career in the defence industry? Visit our dedicated jobs board www.topengineeringjobs.com