Wednesday, 23 September 2015

HMS Ocelot

One of the warships preserved at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent, is HMS Ocelot. She was the last conventionally-powered submarine to be built in Chatham for the Royal Navy.

HMS Ocelot (S17) is also the last-surviving example of the Royal Navy's Oberon-class diesel-electric submarines that is preserved in the UK. (Her sister-ship HMS Onyx was preserved in a museum in Birkenhead, Merseyside, but when the museum closed she was towed away and eventually scrapped. Other examples of the class are preserved in Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil, and Chile.)

When built, HMS Ocelot's characteristics were as follows:
  • Displacement: Surfaced: 2,000 tons; Submerged: 2,450 tons
  • Length: 295.2 ft (90.0 m)
  • Beam: 26.5 ft (8.1 m)
  • Draught: 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Propulsion: 2 × 3,680 hp Admiralty Standard Range V16 diesels driving two shafts; these also powered 2 × 1280 kW generators, whose output could be stored to drive the 2 × 3,000 hp electric motors that were used when the submarine was submerged
  • Speed: Surfaced: 12 knots; Submerged: 16 knots
  • Range: 10,350 nautical miles at surface cruising speed
  • Diving depth: 650 ft (200 m)
  • Complement: 7 officers and 62 men
  • Sensors: Type 1002 surface search and navigation radar; Type 187 Active-Passive attack sonar; Type 2007 long range passive sonar
  • Armament: 8 × 21 in (533.4 mm) torpedo tubes (6 bow and 2 stern torpedo tubes); 20 torpedoes

The Oberon-class submarines were a development of the preceding Porpoise-class, and proved to be very quiet. Although originally designed to be attack/hunter-killer submarines, they were often used for clandestine operations. The design proved to be very popular, and examples were used by the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the Brazilian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Chilean Navy.

United Kingdom
  • Oberon
  • Ocelot
  • Odin
  • Olympus
  • Onslaught
  • Onyx
  • Opportune
  • Opossum
  • Oracle
  • Orpheus
  • Osiris
  • Otter
  • Otus
  • Onslow
  • Orion
  • Otama
  • Otway
  • Ovens
  • Oxley
  • Humaitá
  • Tonelero
  • Riachuelo
  • Ojibwa
  • Okanagan
  • Onondaga
  • O'Brien
  • Hyatt


  1. Very small and cramped inside - makes you wonder how people could cope with it.

  2. I've been on two guided tours of her, one was led by a former submariner and the other by a former dockyard engineer. Interesting to have the two different perspectives. As she's in a dry dock it is possible to walk right under the boat which is a bit unnerving.

  3. My dad was in the RN (mechanical engineer) and served on a number of the O and P boats... we were in Australia for 2 years (he was on Onslow and I visited her a number of times), he was also based at Gosport and I remember going on Porpoise (I think) and definitely Ocelot, Odin and possibly Opossum.... an overpowering smell of cabbagem close humanity and diesel - very exciting for a 10-12 year old...

  4. Xaltotun of Python,

    She is so cramped that visitors have to be able to show that they can climb through a cut-out that is the same size as Ocelot's internal hatches before being allowed aboard.

    No room for fat sailors here!

    All the best,


  5. Nigel Drury,

    How very interesting!

    I understand that some aspects of Ocelot's career are still secret ... and it would interesting to hear a tour conducted by someone who knew about that part of her service.

    All the best,


  6. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    It is nice to have some form of personal connection with something like Ocelot ... although the thought of going into a confined space that smells of cabbage, human bodies, and diesel seems less than appealing!

    All the best,