HMS Orpheus (S11)

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Hms orpheus s11.jpg
HMS Orpheus
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Orpheus
Builder: Vickers, Barrow-in-Furness
Laid down: 16 April 1959
Launched: 17 November 1959
Commissioned: 25 November 1960
Identification: pennant number: S11
Fate: Scrapped, 1994
General characteristics as designed
Class and type: Oberon-class submarine
  • 1,610 tons standard
  • 2,030 tons full load surfaced
  • 2,410 tons full load submerged
Beam: 26.5 feet (8.1 m)
Draught: 18 feet (5.5 m)
  • 2 × Admiralty Standard Range 16 VMS diesel generators
  • 2 × 3,000 shaft horsepower (2,200 kW) electric motors
  • 2 shafts
  • 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) submerged
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
Complement: 68 (6 officers, 62 enlisted)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Type 186 and Type 187 sonars
  • I-band surface search radar
  • 8 × 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes (6 forward, 2 aft)
  • 24 torpedoes

HMS Orpheus was an Oberon-class submarine of the Royal Navy.

Design and construction[edit]

The Oberon class was a direct follow on of the Porpoise-class, with the same dimensions and external design, but updates to equipment and internal fittings, and a higher grade of steel used for fabrication of the pressure hull.[1]

As designed for British service, the Oberon-class submarines were 241 feet (73 m) in length between perpendiculars and 295.2 feet (90.0 m) in length overall, with a beam of 26.5 feet (8.1 m), and a draught of 18 feet (5.5 m).[2] Displacement was 1,610 tons standard, 2,030 tons full load when surfaced, and 2,410 tons full load when submerged.[2] Propulsion machinery consisted of 2 Admiralty Standard Range 16 VMS diesel generators, and two 3,000 shaft horsepower (2,200 kW) electric motors, each driving a 7-foot diameter (2.1 m) 3-bladed propeller at up to 400 rpm.[2] Top speed was 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) when submerged, and 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface.[2] Eight 21-inch (530 mm) diameter torpedo tubes were fitted (six facing forward, two aft), with a total payload of 24 torpedoes.[2] The boats were fitted with Type 186 and Type 187 sonars, and an I-band surface search radar.[2] The standard complement was 68: 6 officers, 62 sailors.[2] Unlike other members of the class, which had a fin made from glass fibre-reinforced plastic, the fin of Orpheus was made of aluminium alloy.[2]

Orpheus was laid down by Vickers-Armstrongs on 16 April 1959, and launched on 17 November 1959.[2] The boat was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 25 November 1960.[2]

Operational history[edit]

In mid-1964, Orpheus joined the 3rd Submarine Flotilla based at Faslane. In Juny 1965 she carried out submarine escape trials off Malta, with a record 500 feet (150 m) free ascent made. Other duties including Canadian and Australian crews for Oberon-class submarines that were being built for those countries.[3] On 15 February 1967 Orpheus collided with sister-ship Opportune in poor weather and darkness off Portsmouth Harbour. Orpheus's commanding officer was reprimanded at the resultant court martial.[4]

Orpheus attended the 1977 Silver Jubilee Fleet Review off Spithead when she was part of the Submarine Flotilla.[5]

Decommissioning and fate[edit]

She was in harbour service in 1987 and was broken up in 1994.


  1. ^ Chant, Christopher (2005). Submarine Warfare Today: The World's Deadliest Underwater Weapons Systems. Wigston: Silverdale Books. p. [page needed]. ISBN 1-84509-158-2. OCLC 156749009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Moore, John, ed. (1977). Jane's Fighting Ships 1977-78. Jane's Fighting Ships (80th ed.). London: Jane's Yearbooks. p. 490. ISBN 0531032779. OCLC 18207174.
  3. ^ "Crew 'Escaped' From 500 Feet". Navy News. October 1966. p. 3. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Collision—decisions of courts martial". Navy News. May 1967. p. 6. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  5. ^ Official Souvenir Programme, 1977. Silver Jubilee Fleet Review, HMSO