Why the name Dreadnought? What actually is a Dreadnought? Well, one dictionary definition says; dreadnought - battleship that has big guns all of the same caliber.
The original dreadnought was H.M.S. Dreadnought, the British battleship that revolutionized sea warfare during World War I. It was named after a ship of the line at the Battle of Trafalgar, and it gave her name to a revolution in naval warfare. Built in Portsmouth dockyard in just over a year, she was the best-armed and fastest battleship in the world when completed in 1906. Soon after, there was a whole class of vessels known as Dreadnoughts
The PRS-2 Dreadnought is actually named after the next British Navy ship to be named HMS Dreadnought. That was the Nuclear powered submarine S101.
The introduction of nuclear powered submarines marked a huge leap forward in submarine warfare for the Royal Navy. HMS Dreadnought, the Royal Navy's first nuclear powered submarine, entered service in 1963. Her nuclear propulsion allowed to succeed where earlier boats had failed, as true fleet submarines, fast enough to protect a convoy or task force and scout ahead of the main fleet. Her ability to remain submerged without having to surface for air was a critical advantage over smaller conventional submarines and her mere presence could be enough to deter aggression.
Dreadnought's hull was based on a streamlined teardrop design employed by the USS Albacore, although her hydroplanes were positioned at the bow rather than on the fin. The design put more emphasis on speed than quietness. The distinctive whale shaped casing and a fin shaped conning tower both helped to reduce drag. She measuring 80.8 metres in length and 9.7 metres in beam and displaced 3,000 tons, which is small by comparison to later nuclear submarines and she was fitted with six forward torpedo tubes. She had a complement of 113 officers and men and greater emphasis was placed on crew comfort than with other submarines particularly because of the long periods of time which would be spent submerged. Dreadnought's principle role was be to detect and destroy enemy submarines and hence the term "hunter-killer" was used to describe her.
In 1971 HMS Dreadnought became the first British submarine to surface at the North Pole. Under the command of Cdr. Alan Kennedy she traveled 1,500 miles under the ice before breaking through the surface on March 3rd. Compared with newer submarines, Dreadnought was smaller and noisier and towards the end of the 1970s she began to suffer from a number of technical problems and was withdrawn from service in 1981. Initially she was laid up at Chatham, however, the closure of this base forced her relocation to Rosyth. She was towed to the Scottish Dockyard on 13th April 1983 and remains there today.
"We are calling this ship Dreadnought because it is opening a new epoch just as was the old Dreadnought, built fifty years ago"
-Earl of Selkirk, First Lord of the Admiralty, July 1959.
Will the PRS-2 Dreadnought be just as monumental as her forebearers? Time will tell.
A Flying Doctor Production
Dr. Peter McClean Millar