苏州半永久培训

British, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic

Posted on 08/30/2019 | in 苏州半永久 | by

In what experts called an unprecedented incident, Britain\’s HMS Vanguard and France\’s Le Triomphant hit each other deep underwater in the middle of the ocean on February 4, according to British press reports.

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The crash caused damage but no leaks from the vessels. Each is some 150 metres long and can carry up to 48 nuclear warheads on a maximum of 16 missiles. The total number of crew members involved in the incident was 250 sailors.

Confirming the media reports, Britain\’s First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said the submarines “were conducting routine … patrols in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The submarines came into contact at very low speed… No injuries occurred,” he said in a brief statement to reporters.

“There was no compromise to nuclear safety.” The British sub was able to be towed to its Faslane base in western Scotland for repair, media reports said.

France\’s defence ministry initially said on February 6 that Le Triomphant had been damaged when it hit an object, thought then to be a sinking cargo container.

Le Triomphant, one of France\’s four nuclear-armed submarines, hit the object while submerging, and immediately returned to base at Ile-Longue, near Brest in northwest France.

The sonar dome on the front of the vessel was damaged, the navy said at the time, adding that the incident had not resulted in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any time.

But on Monday the the French ministry confirmed that the incident involved the British nuclear submarine.

“This is the first incident of its kind in more than 400 patrols that we have carried out,” Captain Jerome Erulin, a spokesman for the French navy, told AFP.

HMS Vanguard, launched in 1992, is one of four nuclear submarines operated by the British military as part of its Trident system, and one is always on deterrent patrol.

Stephen Saunders, of military information group Jane\’s said there were three possible causes.

The first was a possible procedural error: the submarines should have been subject to

“NATO waterspace management” which “deconflicts” such incidents, even if France is not part of NATO\’s military command structure, he said.

Secondly the two vessels may not have been able to hear eachother because of high-tech engineering designed to make them undetectable to enemies.

Thirdly was simple bad luck. “Even if two submarines do find themselves in the same area, it is still bad luck to have run into each other — i.e. to be in the same place at the same depth,” he said.

France and Britain are two of the world\’s five declared nuclear powers, along with the United States, China and Russia. France has maintained a sea-based nuclear deterrent force since 1971.

Britain is planning to renew its Trident submarine nuclear missile system, at a cost of about 20 billion pounds (now 30 billion dollars, 22 billion euros).

A French anti-nuclear group meanwhile attacked military authorities for taking so long to admit the collision.

“It appears obvious that once again the first reflex of the nuclear lobby is to hide the truth,” said Sortir du Nucleaire (Get Out of Nuclear).

“Nothing therefore has changed since the state lies about the Chernobyl cloud” in 1986, when the nuclear reactor in Ukraine melted down and sent a cloud of radioactive pollution into the atmosphere, it added. Saunders said the collision highlighted a serious management issue.

“The damage, while embarrassing, can be repaired,” he said. “No doubt there are a number of technical issues to be investigated. But the root of the problem appears to be procedural.

These submarines should not have been in the same place at the same time.”

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