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Explorer Class (1954) SS

The two Explorer Class (1954) submarines were built to test the use of Hydrogen Peroxide to heat water for steam turbine power.

The system, (Walther engine), had first been used by Germany during WW2. One U-boat, U-1407,  powered by this system was taken over by the Royal Navy at the end if the war as HMS Meteorite. She was used as a trials submarine.

Although the Navy considered the system too dangerous to use in combat they nevertheless built the two boats of the Explorer Class to assess the system further.

The Hydrogen Peroxide fuel was so dangerous and produced so many accidental explosions that with usual British black humour Explorer was nicknamed 'Exploder'. 

When working,  they were used as high speed underwater targets producing speeds up to 30 kts.

The trials ended in 1968 when it was clear that nuclear power was the direction to take for future submarine propulsion. 

HMS Explorer was disposed of in 1965, and HMS Excalibur 1970.

 

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This page last edited - 20 March, 2013.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.