HMNB Clyde
Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde (HMS Neptune
HMS Neptune
Nine ships and a naval base of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Neptune after the Roman god of the ocean: was a 90-gun second rate launched in 1683. She was rebuilt in 1710 and 1730 before being renamed HMS Torbay in her new incarnation as a third rate in 1750. She was sold in 1784. was a...

) is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 (the others being HMNB Devonport
HMNB Devonport
Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport , is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy . HMNB Devonport is located in Devonport, in the west of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England...

 and HMNB Portsmouth
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

). It is the service's headquarters in Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and is best known as the home of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's strategic nuclear deterrent, in the form of nuclear submarine
Nuclear submarine
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor . The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" submarines are considerable: nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for...

s armed with Trident missiles
UK Trident programme
The UK Trident programme is the United Kingdom's Trident missile-based nuclear weapons programme. Under the programme, the Royal Navy operates 58 nuclear-armed Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and around 200 nuclear warheads on 4 Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines from...


HMNB Clyde lies on the eastern shore of Gare Loch
Gare Loch
The Gare Loch or Gareloch is a sea loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.-Geography:A sea loch aligned north-south, Gare Loch is 10 kilometres long with an average width of 1.5 kilometres. At its southern end it opens into the Firth of Clyde through the Rhu narrows...

 in Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute is both one of 32 unitary council areas; and a Lieutenancy area in Scotland. The administrative centre for the council area is located in Lochgilphead.Argyll and Bute covers the second largest administrative area of any Scottish council...

, Scotland, to the north of the Firth of Clyde
Firth of Clyde
The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth of Clyde, separating the Kintyre Peninsula from the Isle of Arran.At...

 and 25 mi (40.2 km) west of the city of Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

. The submarine base
Submarine base
A submarine base is a military base that shelters submarines and their personnel.Examples of present-day submarine bases include HMNB Clyde, Île Longue , Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Naval Submarine Base New London, and Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base .The Israeli navy bases its growing submarine...

 encompasses a number of separate sites, the primary two being:
  • Faslane, 25 miles from Glasgow;
  • RNAD Coulport
    Coulport is a village on the east side of Loch Long, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.It is 5 miles north-north-west of Cove on the Rosneath peninsula. It marks the end of the B833 shore road, although the village can also be reached by a high-quality but unclassified access road directly from...

    , beside Loch Long
    Loch Long
    Loch Long is a body of water in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The sea loch extends from the Firth of Clyde at its southwestern end. It measures approximately 20 miles in length, with a width of between one and two miles...

    , 8 mi (12.9 km) west of Faslane.

Faslane is also a Defence Equipment and Support site, operated in dual site organisation with Great Harbour, Greenock
Greenock is a town and administrative centre in the Inverclyde council area in United Kingdom, and a former burgh within the historic county of Renfrewshire, located in the west central Lowlands of Scotland...

, by Babcock Marine
Babcock International Group
Babcock International Group plc is a British-based support services company specialising in managing complex assets and infrastructure in safety-critical and mission-critical environments. Although the company has civil contracts, its main business is with public bodies, particularly the UK...

, and managed by Serco Denholm
Serco Denholm
Serco Denholm is a joint venture between Serco Group and Denholm Group providing marine services support to the Royal Navy at the United Kingdom's three main naval bases, HMNB Portsmouth, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Clyde....


Faslane Naval Base

Faslane Naval Base, situated on the Gare Loch, and the RN Armaments Depot Coulport on Loch Long, are the primary components of HM Naval Base Clyde. The Naval shore establishment at Faslane is HMS Neptune
HMS Neptune
Nine ships and a naval base of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Neptune after the Roman god of the ocean: was a 90-gun second rate launched in 1683. She was rebuilt in 1710 and 1730 before being renamed HMS Torbay in her new incarnation as a third rate in 1750. She was sold in 1784. was a...

, Naval personnel appointed to the base who do not belong to a sea-going vessel make up Ship's Company. Both the Gareloch and Loch Long are sea lochs extending northwards from the Firth of Clyde. The base serves as home base to the United Kingdom's fleet of Vanguard-class
Vanguard class submarine
The Vanguard class are the Royal Navy's current nuclear ballistic missile submarines , each armed with up to 16 Trident II Submarine-launched ballistic missiles...

 nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines, as well as conventionally-armed nuclear powered submarines, supported by the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines , formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines and Comacchio Group Royal Marines , is a commando-sized specialist unit of the Royal Marines responsible for guarding the United Kingdom's Naval nuclear weapons and other security-related duties.-History:On 1 May...


In command of HMNB Clyde is the Naval Base Commander (Clyde), Commodore C J Hockley who succeeded Commodore
Commodore (Royal Navy)
Commodore is a rank of the Royal Navy above Captain and below Rear Admiral. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-6. The rank is equivalent to Brigadier in the British Army and Royal Marines and to Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force.-Insignia:...

 Carolyn Stait
Carolyn Stait
Commodore Carolyn J Stait CBE is a retired officer of the Royal Navy, and was from 2004 to 2007 the first woman to command a Naval Base in Britain...

 in Autumn 2007. The base is home to a number of lodger units including Flag Officer
Flag Officer
A flag officer is a commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark where the officer exercises command. The term usually refers to the senior officers in an English-speaking nation's navy, specifically those who hold any of the admiral ranks; in...

 Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland (FOSNNI) (who is also Flag Officer Reserves/FORes), the Northern Diving Group and the Scottish Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency
Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency
The Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence. The organisation was formed on 1 April 2004 by the amalgamation of the MoD Police Agency with the Ministry of Defence Guard Service, with the purpose of providing a coordinated approach to the...

. It is base to 3,000 service personnel, 800 of their families and 4,000 civilian workers, largely from Babcock Marine, forming a major part of the economy of Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire
West Dunbartonshire is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. Bordering onto the west of the City of Glasgow, containing many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages as well as the city's suburbs, West Dunbartonshire also borders onto Argyll and Bute, Stirling, East...


Faslane was first constructed and used as a base in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. During the 1960s, the United Kingdom began negotiating the Polaris Sales Agreement
Polaris Sales Agreement
The Polaris Sales Agreement was an agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom which formally arranged for the Polaris missile system to be provided to the UK to maintain its independent nuclear deterrent. The arrangement had been set up in principle as a result of the Nassau Agreement...

 with the United States regarding the purchase of a Polaris missile system to fire UK-built Nuclear weapons from five specially constructed submarines. In the end, only four were constructed; Resolution, Repulse
HMS Repulse (S23)
HMS Repulse was a Resolution-class ballistic missile submarine of the Royal Navy.Launched on 4 November 1967, she was the last of her class remaining in service with the navy, decommissioning in 1996....

, Renown
HMS Renown (S26)
HMS Renown was the third of the Royal Navy's Resolution-class ballistic missile submarines.Built by Cammell Laird and launched on 25 February 1967, she was decommissioned in 1996.- External links :*...

 and Revenge
HMS Revenge (S27)
HMS Revenge was the fourth of the Royal Navy's Resolution-class ballistic missile submarines.Built by Cammell Laird and launched on 15 March 1968, she was marked for disposal in 1992...

. These four submarines were permanently based at Faslane.

Faslane itself was chosen as the base at the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 because of its geographic position, which forms a bastion
Bastion (naval)
A bastion in naval strategy is a heavily-defended area of water in which friendly naval forces can operate safely. Typically, that area will be partially enclosed by friendly shoreline, defended by naval mines, monitored by sensors, and heavily patrolled by surface, submarine, and air forces.-...

 on the relatively secluded but deep and easily navigable Gare Loch and Firth of Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. This position provides for rapid and stealthy access through the North Channel
North Channel (British Isles)
The North Channel is the strait which separates eastern Northern Ireland from southwestern Scotland...

 to the submarine patrolling areas in the North Atlantic, through the GIUK gap
GIUK gap
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval warfare chokepoint. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses...

 to the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

. One boat was always on patrol at any given time. In times of political instability, sometimes two boats would be deployed at sea.

Vanguard-class SSBNs

In the 1980s, the British Government announced plans to replace the s carrying UGM-27 Polaris
UGM-27 Polaris
The Polaris missile was a two-stage solid-fuel nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile built during the Cold War by Lockheed Corporation of California for the United States Navy....

 with the newly developed Trident missile system on the new s, also to be based at Faslane. These submarines were named:
  • HMS Vanguard
    HMS Vanguard (S28)
    The eleventh HMS Vanguard of the Royal Navy is the lead boat of her class of Trident ballistic missile-armed submarines. The submarine is based at HMNB Clyde, Faslane....

  • HMS Victorious
    HMS Victorious (S29)
    HMS Victorious is the second of the Royal Navy. Victorious carries the Trident ballistic missile, the UK's nuclear deterrent....

  • HMS Vigilant
    HMS Vigilant (S30)
    HMS Vigilant is the third of the Royal Navy. Vigilant carries the Trident ballistic missile, the UK's nuclear deterrent.Vigilant was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd , was launched in October 1995, and commissioned in November 1996.Peter Hennessy reporting for...

  • HMS Vengeance
    HMS Vengeance (S31)
    HMS Vengeance is the fourth and final of the Royal Navy. Vengeance carries the Trident ballistic missile, the UK's nuclear deterrent....

Astute-class SSNs

HMS Astute
HMS Astute (S119)
HMS Astute is a nuclear-powered submarine in the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class. Builders BAE Systems describe her as "the largest and most able attack submarine that the Royal Navy has operated, with a performance to rival any in the world"....

 arrived at home port, Faslane, for the first time on the 20th November 2009. Faslane will be home port to the Astute class submarine
Astute class submarine
The Astute-class is the latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines in service with the Royal Navy. The class sets a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth. The boats are being constructed by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions at...

 SSNs for the foreseeable future.

Astute is the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines. Commissioned in August 2010, Astute is one of the most "advanced submarines in the world".

Other vessels

Also based there are the mine countermeasure vessels of the 1st MCM Squadron
Sandown class minehunter
The Sandown class is a class of minehunter originally built for the British Royal Navy). Sandown-class vessels also serve with the Royal Saudi Navy and the Estonian Navy...

. The patrol vessels of the Northern Ireland Squadron
Northern Ireland Squadron
The Northern Ireland Squadron was a unit of the Royal Navy. It was established during the conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles to interdict the movement by sea of illegal arms for paramilitaries and to provide other material support for anti-terrorist operations in Northern...

 were based at Faslane from 1993 until the squadron was decommissioned in July 2005.

With the disbanding of the Cyprus Squadron
Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron
The Royal Navy Cyprus Squadron was a Royal Naval Squadron based on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It was formed in February 2003 in support of Operation Telic, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and disbanded in April 2010...

 in 2010, the patrol vessels Pursuer
HMS Pursuer (P273)
HMS Pursuer is an Archer-class patrol and training vessel of the British Royal Navy, currently part of the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron at HMNB Clyde....

 and Dasher
HMS Dasher (P280)
HMS Dasher is an Archer-class P2000-type patrol and training vessel of the British Royal Navy, currently part of the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron at HMNB Clyde....

 are now stationed at HMNB Clyde.

Anti-nuclear demonstrations

Given the presence of these nuclear capable missiles, Faslane has attracted demonstrations by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 and other Scottish pressure groups, including Trident Ploughshares
Trident Ploughshares
Trident Ploughshares is an activist anti-nuclear weapons group, founded in 1998 with the aim of "beating swords into ploughshares" . This is specifically by attempting to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system, in a non-violent manner...

. A permanent peace camp
Faslane Peace Camp
Faslane Peace Camp is a permanent peace camp sited alongside Faslane Naval base in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It has been occupied continuously, in a few different locations, since 12 June 1982...

 is outside the base gates, and there are frequent demonstrations at the base gates. The presence of Faslane is also an issue in Scottish politics
Politics of Scotland
The Politics of Scotland forms a distinctive part of the wider politics of Europe.Theoretically, the United Kingdom is de jure a "unitary state" with one sovereign parliament and government...


The Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party
The Scottish National Party is a social-democratic political party in Scotland which campaigns for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom....

, the Scottish Socialist Party
Scottish Socialist Party
The Scottish Socialist Party is a left-wing Scottish political party. Positioning itself significantly to the left of Scotland's centre-left parties, the SSP campaigns on a socialist economic platform and for Scottish independence....

 and the Scottish Green Party
Scottish Green Party
The Scottish Green Party is a green party in Scotland. It has two MSPs in the devolved Scottish Parliament, Alison Johnstone, representing Lothian, and Patrick Harvie, for Glasgow.-Organisation:...

 all oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons, although the Scottish National Party have made assurances that they would retain the base for the servicing of conventionally-armed and -powered naval units. It is not unusual for members of these parties, and indeed some from the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 to be present. Also, some independents, such as George Galloway
George Galloway
George Galloway is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010. He was formerly an MP for the Labour Party, first for Glasgow Hillhead and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year...

 attend rallies outside Faslane. Such events aim to keep the base closed for as long as possible by preventing its staff from arriving for work, and usually involve large numbers of protesters being arrested for non-violent civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...


Faslane peace camp

Faslane peace camp is a permanent camp outside the base. It has been occupied continuously since 1982.

Big blockades

The "big blockade" at Faslane Naval Base is an annual event held since 1999 usually in the 2nd week of February, aiming to close the base for 24 hours (although never successfully). The event attracts thousands of peace activists and has on occasion resulted in more than 350 arrests.

Faslane 365

The Faslane 365 campaign was a one-year protest at the base. It was a civil resistance initiative to apply critical public pressure for the disarmament of Britain's nuclear weapons.

The campaign was launched in September 2006 with the first protest action commencing on 1 October 2006 carried out by a campaigning group of women associated with protests at Greenham Common. It formally ended with a Big Blockade on 1 October 2007. However, groups are continuing to take direct action at both Faslane and Coulport.

131 blockading groups took part in Faslane 365 and 1150 arrests were made.

RNAD Coulport

The Royal Naval Armaments Depot
Royal Naval Armaments Depot
A Royal Naval Armament Depot was a group of armament depots dedicated to supplying the needs of the Royal Navy as well as the Royal Air Force, British Army and foreign/commonwealth governments; they were sister depots of Royal Naval Cordite Factories, Royal Naval Torpedo and Royal Naval Mine Depots...

 (RNAD) at Coulport, Loch Long is the other major part of HMNB Clyde. RNAD Coulport stores conventional armaments for Royal Navy vessels but is best known for its role in the Trident missile system.

Nuclear weapon storage bunkers have been excavated from a ridge. From here British-designed and built nuclear warheads can be fitted to the Trident missiles (built by Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

). Whilst the warheads themselves are British-owned and built, the delivery system is not actually owned by the United Kingdom and instead it has ownership rights to some 58 missiles from a "pool" shared with the U.S. Navy. Whole missiles can be lifted out of or into a submarine, however the missiles are normally serviced at the U.S. Navy facility at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is a base of the United States Navy located adjacent to the town of St. Marys in Camden County, Georgia, in southeastern Georgia, and not far from Jacksonville, Florida. The Submarine Base is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's home port for U.S. Navy Fleet ballistic missile...

 in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Initial construction took place between 1963, when Faslane was chosen as the new Polaris base, and 1968, when the first Polaris boat began its patrol. Safety considerations required that the armament maintenance and storage facility have its own berth and be at least 4,400 feet from the main facility, whilst operational considerations dictated that the two facilities should be within an hour's sailing time. Coulport, on the opposite peninsula, met both of these requirements. Additional construction took place during the 1980s to support the Trident missile programme.

A covered floating dry dock for the trident submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s was built at Hunterston
Hunterston, by the Firth of Clyde, is a coastal area in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is the seat and estate of the Hunter family. As an area of flat land adjacent to deep natural water, it has been the site of considerable actual and proposed industrial development in the 20th century. The nearest...

 and floated to RNAD Coulport where it has been situated since 1993.

External links

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