Oberon Class: Overseas Patrol Submarine
The design of the earlier Porpoise Class was heavily influenced by the later German U-boats of WW11 and the Oberon's were a further advancement on this design.
Unlike the Porpoise boats, plastics and fibre glass was used on the fin and casing. All machinery sat on heavy resilient mountings and with the external streamlining, this class of submarine became the quietest of their type in the world.
Built at a cost of 2.4 to 3.6 million pounds, the first of the class, Oberon was laid down at Chatham on 28 November 1957. The first to be commissioned came out of the Vickers yard at Barrow in November 1960.
The quality of the Oberon class was quickly realised and four countries, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Chile placed orders. All three boats ordered by Canada were built at Chatham.
In the control room, the earlier configuration of foreplanes, afterplanes and helm were gone and the One Man Control was installed.
These diesel electric submarines were capable of long patrols and served the Royal Navy well during the Cold War.
The life of these boats was extended by upgrade programmes to both boat and its weapons carrying capability. The last Royal Navy boat paid off in 1993 and of those with other navies, Hyatt with the Chilean Navy paid of in 2005.
Of the thirteen RN submarines in this class, three are now museum exhibits. In 1992 Ocelot returned to the place of her birth and can be seen at the Historic Dockyard Chatham.
Onyx is at Barrow-in-Furness and Otus is on display at Sassnitz, Germany.
Another Chatham boat, built for the Canadian Navy, Onondaga, is on display at the Pointe au Pere Historic Site, Rimouski, Quebec.