Military Wiki
Stickleback-class submarine
X51 Stickleback duxford.JPG
X51 Stickleback at Imperial War Museum Duxford
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
General characteristics
Class & type: Stickleback class submarine
Displacement: 35.2 tons surfaced / 39.27 submerged
Length: 50 ft 8 in (15.44 m) (pp)
53 ft 10 in (16.41 m) (oa)
Beam: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Draught: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Propulsion: 1 shaft diesel electric, 1 Perkins P6 6cyl diesel, 1 electric motor, 50 bhp/44 shp
Speed: 6.5 knots surfaced / 6 knots submerged
Complement: 5
Armament: 2 detachable 2 ton side charges

The Stickleback class submarines were midget submarines of the Royal Navy initially ordered as improved versions of the older XE class submarines. They were designed to allow British defences to practice defending against midget submarines since it was theorised that the Soviets had or could develop such craft.[1]

The Royal Navy developed plans to use these craft to carry a 15 kiloton nuclear mine (based around the Red Beard weapon) codenamed Cudgel into Soviet harbours.[1] The project was unsuccessful as there were problems finding and paying for the necessary fissile material.


There were 4 boats, launched 1954–1955:

  • X51 Stickleback, launched July 1954, sold to the Royal Swedish Navy in 1958 and was renamed Spiggen. Now on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
  • X52 Shrimp, launched October 1954
  • X53 Sprat, launched 30 December 1954
  • X54 Minnow, launched 5 May 1955


  1. 1.0 1.1 Paloczi-Horvath, George (1996). From Monitor to Missile Boat Coast Defence Ships and Coastal Defence since 1860. Conway Maritime Press. p. 120. ISBN 0-85177-650-7. 
  • The Royal Navy Submarine Service, A Centennial History, Antony Preston

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