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D’oh!!!

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Less than ideal time for this to happen:

The Royal Navy hastened to assemble an official inquiry Friday evening to explore why Britain’s newest nuclear submarine, H.M.S. Astute, ran aground while undergoing sea trials off the coast of northwest Scotland on Friday morning and remained stuck on a bank of sand and shingle for nearly 10 hours before a tug pulled it free at nightfall. A spokesman for the Royal Navy said divers would be deployed at first light on Saturday to check concerns that the submarine’s rudder had been damaged.

The episode was particularly embarrassing for the navy because the vessel, one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the world, was designed for maximum stealth and use in such delicate operations as delivering special forces troops secretly and eavesdropping off the coasts of hostile nations. Its design features and propulsion mechanisms are considered top secret, naval experts said, but both were on display during the grounding.

Galrahn has some more detailed and productive thoughts about the incident.

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  • ploeg

    They were merely practicing the part where they land on a shore when least expected. That part went fairly well.

    • Bill Murray

      No that only works for the HMS Spanish Inquisition.

  • MikeJ

    I was actually surprised they told anyone. They could have allowed the sub to sit there all day, towed it off under cover of darkness, and if anybody asked about it, just stonewall.

    • ploeg

      Like what the Royal Navy does with cannibalism and necrophilia

    • steverino

      From the linked Galrahn post:

      …The Royal Navy has a nuclear submarine aground within view of the shore, and more specifically a major bridge, where thousands of people are going to see this in person – and likely care.

      • MikeJ

        Yes? People can see it. Would they know it’s aground? It’s sitting there. Do you think the USN would have admitted anything was wrong?

  • the vessel, one of the most technologically advanced submarines in the world, was designed for maximum stealth

    What enemy is this submarine designed to fight against? Seriously.

    • Simple Mind

      It’s yellow and it’s a Liverpudlian living space.

    • was designed for maximum stealth

      Looks like it’s run aground and then WHAM! YOU’RE NUKED!

  • steverino

    During my Holy Loch boomer days, Soviet AGIs were a threat, hanging out sometimes in the traffic lanes we used to transit to open ocean. Because we went between Ireland’s north and Scotland’s west coast, the water was relatively shallow for quite a ways and thus we were on the surface for a while.

    Squadron occasionally threatened (from my POV as a Quartermaster) to send us out an alternate route that would avoid the standard traffic lanes, running up the west coast inside some islands and then ducking through a narrow channel to open ocean. It looked hairy then, and does to me now: that they would even contemplate putting a boomer deliberately into a navigationally hazardous situation just to prove it could be done is crazy.

    The HMS Astute seems to be designed for littoral ops, but it is still dicey stuff. I did some Marine/Seal swimmer ops training on the USS Whale (SSN 638) off Puerto Rico, but we just hung out offshore at PD while they Zodiaced in and back. The boat had just gotten a GPS, too: easy watch for the QM, constant fixes while doing racetracks.

  • allium

    From the NYT article:

    The first of four Astute-class attack vessels, it is powered by a nuclear reactor that its builders say will need no refueling for 25 years. It also has an ability to purify seawater and air that will enable it to circumnavigate the world without surfacing. However, it will carry only three months’ worth of food for its 100-man crew.

    Something tells me a certain percentage of the crew is drawing an extra 20 pounds a month or so under the header of “Rations – Fourth Class”.

  • Colin Escherich

    Clearly not an astute crew.

  • ajay

    Something tells me a certain percentage of the crew is drawing an extra 20 pounds a month or so under the header of “Rations – Fourth Class”.

    As a naval officer I abhor the implication that the Royal Navy is a haven for cannibalism. It is well known that we now have the problem relatively under control, and that it is the RAF who now suffer the largest casualties in this area. And what do you think the Argylls ate in Aden. Arabs? Yours etc. Captain B.J. Smethwick in a white wine sauce with shallots, mushrooms and garlic.

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