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A collision in the Atlantic with a French sub left Britain's HMS Vanguard, pictured here, badly damaged. The sub has since been tugged back to port.  (Source: BBC/PA)
Collision leaves two nuclear-armed subs badly damaged

The HMS Vanguard of Britain's Royal Navy and Le Triomphant of France's Navy, both nuclear subs, collided earlier this month and sustained heavy damage.  While both countries assure there's no danger of a nuclear threat, both subs are key parts of their respective country's nuclear arsenal and are presumed to have been carrying a full complement of nuclear warheads.

The crash occurred in the middle of the Atlantic at an undisclosed date earlier in the month.  First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said the collision was at low speed and while the damage was heavy, no injuries were reported.  The British vessel had to be towed back to port and featured "very visible dents and scrapes" according to British officials.

The irony of the collision was that it perhaps proved that the countries' respective anti-sonar technologies were working as planned.  Neither nuclear sub could see the other, despite the fact that both were equipped with sonar.  And the seemingly rare chance crossing of the sub's paths occurred, and thus led to a collision.  States BBC's Caroline Wyatt, "This is clearly a one-in-a-million chance when you think about how big the Atlantic is. It is actually unbelievable that something happened."

French officials describe their sub's damage from the incident stating, "The sonar dome, at the front, was damaged. This incident did not cause any injuries among the crew and did not threaten the nuclear security at any time.  The submarine came back by its own means to L'Ile Longue, escorted by a frigate, as it is the usual practice when leaving or coming back."

While the collision seems like a highly improbable occurrence, it may actually be more likely than some suspect.  According to British nuclear engineer John Large, both countries prefer deep waters a certain distance off their coasts to patrol in.  Given the geography of Britain and France, these deep waters feature significant overlap.

States Mr. Large, "Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports. So you find these station grounds have got quite a few submarines, not only French and Royal Navy but also from Russia and the United States."

In Britain, the Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Harvey praised the Royal Navy and its response stating, "While the British nuclear fleet has a good safety record, if there were ever to be a bang it would be a mighty big one.  Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned."

However, Scottish National Party officials blasted the error, stating, "The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean."

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament also jumped aboard the criticism boat, stating, "The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons onboard, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed."



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REALLY?
By ninus3d on 2/16/2009 9:12:58 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
However, Scottish National Party officials blasted the error, stating, "The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean."


REALLY?
Unless this is suspected to be first degree or some sabotage involved then I'd GUESS its because the stealth technology works?

What, they want nuclear subs unstealthed?




RE: REALLY?
By rogard on 2/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: REALLY?
By alifbaa on 2/16/2009 10:05:05 AM , Rating: 4
My guess is the French ship was tailing the UK ship and got caught in the old "Crazy Ivan" maneuver.

Two subs from different countries don't just collide in the middle of the Atlantic.


RE: REALLY?
By Amiga500 on 2/16/2009 12:30:45 PM , Rating: 5
Boomers do not trail boomers...


RE: REALLY?
By PrinceGaz on 2/16/2009 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly, so even the French sub had a damaged sonar dome, whilst the British sub had general dents and scrapes, which would imply the French sub ran into the British one, they would never normally have been actively trying to follow each other in the first place.

Both Britain and France have nuclear-powered attack-subs which are a much better choice for trailing ballistic-missile subs, so it would be madness for the French to be tailing one of our boomers with one of their boomers. Besides, we're allies in NATO and both in the EU and whilst we might disagree on some things, we're hardly likely to start throwing nuclear missiles at each other :p


RE: REALLY?
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 1:45:03 PM , Rating: 4
The British sub had to be towed into port. For a collision slow enough to not cause any injuries, that pretty much implies the prop was struck -- even more proof the French ran into them.


RE: REALLY?
By 67STANG on 2/16/2009 2:52:32 PM , Rating: 5
The French finally have a military victory in the last 100 years?


RE: REALLY?
By pavel486 on 2/16/2009 4:04:20 PM , Rating: 1
French won WW1 in case if you missed it :)


RE: REALLY?
By PlasmaBomb on 2/16/2009 4:47:05 PM , Rating: 1
unpossible.


RE: REALLY?
By Nfarce on 2/16/2009 9:53:40 PM , Rating: 4
Uhm no.

Nobody really "won" the alleged War to End All Wars. Now WWII, that's a different story. Just ask the Bolsheviks, Nazis, and Mussolini's RSI... and the French who had to have allied forces fight for them.


RE: REALLY?
By jjmcubed on 2/16/2009 4:21:58 PM , Rating: 1
Yea, GOSH!!!

It has only been 90 years! : P

BTW, just teasing.


RE: REALLY?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/17/2009 5:07:56 PM , Rating: 2
and during this time frame the Cubs are still looking for one World Series Championship - 100 years a counting.... Oh well there's always next century.


RE: REALLY?
By Gul Westfale on 2/16/2009 7:34:16 PM , Rating: 2
i'd call it a tie.


RE: REALLY?
By rudolphna on 2/16/2009 4:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
not necessarily. In teh event of such a collision, the reactor would scram, or shut down, and might not have been able to be restarted. While the reactor itsel fmight not have suffered damage, it takes quite a while, a matter of some hours or even days, to safely start a reactor.


RE: REALLY?
By PlasmaBomb on 2/16/2009 4:53:21 PM , Rating: 1
Damn you Newton and your conservation of momentum!!

*shakes fist*


RE: REALLY?
By Manch on 2/17/2009 10:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
RE: REALLY?
By alifbaa on 2/16/2009 2:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
True, in the cold war, American boomers GENERALLY didn't trail Russian boomers.

With a small(ish) navy with a small budget and aren't particularly concerned with the current geopolitical threat, the French may well do things differently. I'm more familiar with their Air Force, and I know this is exactly the kind of thing they do.

The fact the collision happened at such slow speed and the damage incurred implies the British sub was trying to hide and the French sub was trying to follow.

None of us truly know, but I'll repeat what I said earlier... it's too big an ocean for two subs to collide by coincidence.


RE: REALLY?
By rudolphna on 2/16/2009 4:31:21 PM , Rating: 1
wrong. Boomers generally run at very very slow speeds, on teh order of 2-3 knots, to be as silent as possible.


RE: REALLY?
By alifbaa on 2/16/2009 5:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, you're wrong. 2-3 knots is far faster than they go. They only go fast enough to have minimal control authority on their rudder. Their actual speed is closer to .3 knots.


RE: REALLY?
By emboss on 2/17/2009 9:06:08 AM , Rating: 5
Just like space is far too big to have two satellites collide by coincidence. Err, hang on a second ...

:)


RE: REALLY?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/17/2009 12:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
Touche. A larger volume in all directions. When you consider the preferred mutual stations in the Atlantic, that sea volume shrinks even further, though.


RE: REALLY?
By fic2 on 2/16/2009 4:35:54 PM , Rating: 5
My guess is that the Brit's were driving on the wrong side of the, uh, ocean...


RE: REALLY?
By freeagle on 2/16/2009 4:08:59 PM , Rating: 1
The former.

Quoting a fictional sonar operator:
quote:
If we are quiet enough, they won't know we are here


... well, he was right


RE: REALLY?
By Screwballl on 2/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: REALLY?
By karielash on 2/16/2009 9:52:00 AM , Rating: 3

Alas some politicians are more interested in big headlines with their names attached than anything else, and are incapable of working out why two, very slow moving silent vessels with advanced anti-sonar technology couldn't see each other, I doubt to be honest if either sub was even using active sonar (probably the only sure way to find another slow moving silent sub) it would be very unusual for a boomer to be broadcasting it's position by dumping ridiculous amounts of sound pollution into it's surroundings.


RE: REALLY?
By Aloonatic on 2/16/2009 10:53:36 AM , Rating: 3
Sadly, I have to agree with you. Politicians are only interested in pushing them selves to the fore and getting their name in the news media.

This is epically true for the smaller parties who are often deprived of the oxygen of publicity, so they often jump all over anything that may get them a few column inches, which is what appears to be the case here with the Lib Dems (3rd largest UK party) and and SNP official.

With the way our risk averse, health and safety obsessed, realism deprived officials see the world, I wouldn't be surprised if someone calls for all subs to have a tall flag on top of them and paint them florescent yellow.


RE: REALLY?
By ianweck on 2/16/2009 11:14:19 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
(probably the only sure way to find another slow moving silent sub)


Indeed. Modern nuclear subs are extremely quiet. Unless there is a sound short somewhere onboard, passive sonar will only pick one up at very close range. Passive sonar is what's used most of the time. Unfortunately active sonar tends to give away your own position...
I would guess in this case the French were tailing the British and got too close.


RE: REALLY?
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 11:18:56 AM , Rating: 5
> "I would guess in this case the French were tailing the British and got too close"

These are both strategic assets, not attack subs. I don't believe their tactical protocols would include tailing. Of course, with the French you never know...


RE: REALLY?
By ianweck on 2/16/2009 11:37:06 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah that's what I thought too, but the article said low speed. So unless they were both just cruising around at 5 knots and really were unaware of each other then the French were doing some surveillance. We'll probably never know.


RE: REALLY?
By mars777 on 2/16/2009 8:44:09 PM , Rating: 3
I think the British were driving backwards and hit into the French.


RE: REALLY?
By Manch on 2/16/2009 11:59:35 AM , Rating: 3
The last couple of times I deployed, I noticed something about the French comm equipment. While the rest of our stuff was pointed out and up, They always had several that were pointed at us. Like you said, with the French, you never know........


RE: REALLY?
By Steve1981 on 2/16/2009 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Per Charles DeGaulle...

"No nation has friends only interests"


RE: REALLY?
By toolguy on 2/16/2009 3:16:52 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
There are some within the US government that are friendly to terrorists and communists and socialists and will undermine everything they can to make sure their bill goes through


I don't know of any US government that are friendly to terrorist. Sure some will undermine things to make sure their bill goes through. But I find that statment hard to swallow.


RE: REALLY?
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/17/2009 5:04:43 PM , Rating: 3
Mental note to self... The French have boats bigger the row boats for fishing...

When I think of Navy super power Sub and the countries that have them.... France is not one of them. Did someone give them a sub for Christmas or something?? :)

A real question I would have would be: "how many sailors had to change their shorts after this little bump?" The other question would be, "Did anyone record the metal scrapping against metal sound that would have rattled through out these two ships?" If there ever was a brown note in real life, I'm pretty sure that would be the pitch or very close to it.


Here we go
By mdogs444 on 2/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Here we go
By meepstone on 2/16/2009 9:45:56 AM , Rating: 2
While im sure every environmentalist that has nothing better to do with their time will pick up on this story. I am under the impression that the nuclear warheads will not detonate unless armed and set off on purpose. So if both crashed into each other even at full speed there would be 0 chance of a blast. or am i wrong?


RE: Here we go
By Bateluer on 2/16/2009 9:51:38 AM , Rating: 4
Correct, there is ZERO chance of a nuclear detonation. Worst case scenario, both vessels would be lost with all hands and their nuclear arsenal and reactors would be sitting on the bottom of the ocean, awaiting recovery if possible.

I might be wrong about this, but isn't the reactor from the USS Thresher still sitting on the ocean floor because its down too deep for recovery?


RE: Here we go
By 9nails on 2/16/2009 10:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
Nuclear detonation is less probable. But nuclear radiation exposure and sickness is still likely. There isn't any vibration dampening to isolate and protect nuclear power plants and warheads from cracking and crushing during collisions. Jolted around, these things can be damaged and radiate the compartments they're in. If significantly shifted, such as in a collisions with another sub or the sea floor, we have reason to worry for the men's health and the health of the ocean's creatures during these peaceful times.

It might be time to consider some form of vision system to aid in reducing further improbable collisions.


RE: Here we go
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 10:57:05 AM , Rating: 5
> "There isn't any vibration dampening to isolate and protect nuclear power plants and warheads from cracking and crushing during collisions"

Boomers only move at about 25 mph and they (I believe) nearly always cruise much slower. A 'crash' doesn't cause much accelerative forces, compared to what a warhead has to withstand during the boost phase on its ICBM carrier.

Similarly, the reactor itself has an enormously strong containment structure, built to withstand the much higher pressures of the nuclear reaction inside. You might get a little low-level leakage from a coolant pipe or something, but not an actual release of core contents.

Worrying about the "health of the men" inside is silly. Any collision that could jeopardize the reactor would breach the hull, almost a near-certain death sentence.

As for a 'vision system', see my previous post as to why this isn't practical.


RE: Here we go
By djc208 on 2/17/2009 8:57:52 AM , Rating: 3
Um, this is a WAR machine. They are built to operate under extremely demanding conditions, such as actual enemy attack. So asside from the extremely high safty factor engineered into them because they are nuclear reactors, they are usually even more heavily designed in order to allow them to survive wartime conditions, such as enemy attack.

I'd be surprised if the reactor even SCRAMed from the collision. Wouldn't be much of a war machine if the power went out the minute you had any trouble. Remember the US fast attack sub than ran into the underwater mountain? That was much more severe than this collision and the reactor was fine.

As for the health of the men and the oceans creatures well significant radiation leakage would only be a concern if you had issues with the fuel cladding that released core material into the reactor compartment, which is a VERY unlikely event, and even then the shielding in the RC is such that a sailor on a nuclear submarine recieves less exposure during a tour than you do on the surface in that same time period. Remember these vessels can set peir side while critical and people can walk all over the topside of the ship with no special requirements.

As for sea life, there is still the shielding provided by the hull. If the boat is on the bottom part of that radiation is facing toward the sea floor. As for the rest well water is a wonderful radiation barrier. The 10th value is about 24". So the sea life on the hull might see higher levels but fish in normal habitable zones wouldn't be affected. Again, this is all assuming actual leakage of the core material, which is extremely unlikely. Otherwise the reactor would SCRAM and you'd be left with the much lower shutdown radiation levels outside the hull.


RE: Here we go
By mmatis on 2/16/2009 3:10:55 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, I heard that Bill Gates funded a clandestine salvage operation to retrieve it, and uses it regularly to keep Balmer at optimum operating temperature. He also has it rigged to go critical if Linux ever goes over 30% share. Not sure on the rumor for what he'd do with it in case of judicially-directed breakup of his monopoly.
}:-]


RE: Here we go
By Shadowself on 2/16/2009 9:53:20 AM , Rating: 3
As an ex-nuke I can say with some certainty that while the chance of a nuke going off due to such an accident is not exactly zero, it is so close to zero that any form of rounding of the number gets you effectively to a zero chance.


RE: Here we go
By voyager2084 on 2/16/2009 10:08:23 AM , Rating: 4
Couldn't one argue the same concerning the probability of this event? I mean, two nuclear subs in the middle of the Atlantic could never crash into each other. The ocean is just so big and the subs aren't. Well, they could, but the probability of it happening is so low that... nevermind.

That said, I'm not worried about any nukes going off in an accident like this.


RE: Here we go
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 10:27:11 AM , Rating: 2
> "Couldn't one argue the same concerning the probability of this event? "

No. Subs tend to patrol the same depths and sea lanes. This collision really isn't all that unlikely.

Furthermore, the chance of a collision -- even one at 10 times the speed these 25 mph boats can manage -- causing a detonation isn't just "very low", its infinitesimal. Even if it did occur, it would be a 'fizzle', 1/50 power or so, rather than the full detonation a boosted-fission device would normally experience.

Finally, even if a warhead did explode -- so what? Deep underwater, there wouldn't be any fallout. You'd kill some fish, but within a few days or weeks at the most, currents would bring down water radioactivity levels back to background levels. The risk to us on the surface would be zero. The most that would happen is fishing in the region might have to be suspended temporarily.


RE: Here we go
By voyager2084 on 2/16/2009 10:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This collision really isn't all that unlikely.


The first nuclear sub was launched in the mid 1950's. This is the first collision of a nuclear sub with any other sub that I am aware of, nuclear or otherwise. To say then, that this collision isn't unlikely is wrong. Once in 54 years makes it a pretty unlikely event, especially when submarine crews actively try to prevent things like this, but it did happen.

quote:
Furthermore, the chance of a collision -- even one at 10 times the speed these 25 mph boats can manage -- causing a detonation isn't just "very low", its infinitesimal. Even if it did occur, it would be a 'fizzle', 1/50 power or so, rather than the full detonation a boosted-fission device would normally experience.


I agree completely with almost everything you said. Before today, I would have argued that two nuclear subs colliding in the Atlantic would have had an infinitesimal probability.
In saying that the probability of a nuke going off is infinitesimal, you are implying that it could never happen. In fact, it may never happen, but it could.

quote:
Finally, even if a warhead did explode -- so what? Deep underwater, there wouldn't be any fallout. You'd kill some fish, but within a few days or weeks at the most, currents would bring down water radioactivity levels back to background levels. The risk to us on the surface would be zero. The most that would happen is fishing in the region might have to be suspended temporarily.


I agree completely. My original post only concerned the likelihood of this event, not the dangers of the event.


RE: Here we go
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 11:08:15 AM , Rating: 2
> "Once in 54 years makes it a pretty unlikely event"

France has only had nuclear submarines since the 1990s. During the Cold War, the US and Soviets tended to patrol differing routes (except in a few isolated areas like the Giuk Gap). Furthermore, we haven't had submarines quiet enough to not be heard at close range since about the 1980s or so.

Also, let me clarify what I mean about what the word "unlikely" means in accidental nuclear detonation. It means an event so improbable as to require a page full of zeros to even write down -- much less likely than you striking an expensive, fragile Swiss watch with a large hammer, and having it keep *better* time afterwards. Compared to that, having two subs collide in a commonly used sea lane is indeed, "not that unlikely".


RE: Here we go
By Duwelon on 2/16/2009 11:10:38 AM , Rating: 3
The way nukes, at least American ones are made, are not at all like a stick of dynamite with a fuse next to a flame, where a simple shake could theoretically make the flame connect to the fuse and cause it to explode.

Rather, nukes are armed first and then detonated via a process much more complex then bridging two metal contacts together to close a circuit.


RE: Here we go
By bobny1 on 2/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Here we go
By rudolphna on 2/16/2009 4:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hah, they can far exceed 25mph. That is just as fast as they can tell us. You know what they say, greater than 800 feet and greater than 25 knots. Nobody except those in the navy know the exact figures, but Im willing to put my guesses, for nearly all navies around the world with modern subs, somewhere around 1200 feet and 35 knots. I could be way off, and maybe it IS 800ft and 25k, we will never know.


RE: Here we go
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 6:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
> "I could be way off, and maybe it IS 800ft and 25k, we will never know. "

While you're right that we will never know, I find it extremely unlikely that boomers are constructed to reach speeds of 35 knots. Unlike an attack sub, there really is little advantage for them to move so fast, but there are a substantial number of engineering tradeoffs to be made in designing for a speed that high, not to mention the enormous sonar signature they would have when moving that fast.


RE: Here we go
By Jim28 on 2/17/2009 1:29:39 PM , Rating: 1
There is always an advantage to having a faster ship, provided it doesn't compromise stealth at slower speeds. In fact the faster your "stealth" speed, the happier you are. Also in the event the but is discovered and attacked stealth is less important than surviaval. Survival being to run up to flank speed to outrun incoming torpedoes, while sending some of your own to give your adversery some company. The faster flank speed is, the better your odds are of avoiding the torpedo by moving out of range.


RE: Here we go
By lemonadesoda on 2/16/2009 3:44:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed

Nuclear contamination is not the primary issue here, but nuclear and tech security is. Ships/u-boats and their flotsam lost at sea in international waters, or indeed territorial waters, are subject to marine salvage law which can be very embarrasing for the "superpower" that just lost their technology to the nearest salvage operation from a potential "unfriendly".


RE: Here we go
By Felofasofa on 2/16/2009 11:29:38 PM , Rating: 2
Glomesh Explorer, CIA salvage boat, which featured in marine docos during the 80's. Is this thing still about?


RE: Here we go
By Felofasofa on 2/16/2009 11:41:07 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry it's the Glomar Explorer, - confusing french hand-bags with cold war trickery.


Hmm,
By Clauzii on 2/16/2009 11:42:48 AM , Rating: 3
Satellites, Subs - so what's next? Suburbans?




RE: Hmm,
By nixoofta on 2/16/2009 3:48:45 PM , Rating: 5
...in other news,...two Mobile Subway franchises, reportedly carrying FMC's,(Foods of Mass Consumption), collided at Main and Broadway.

"Five,...five dollar,...five dollar footlongs" were strewn all over the intersection and deemed unfit for human consumption. Several subs were dented and appeared to be much shorter than the advertised foot long.

A reporter on the scene was quoted saying "Yeah, but that's not that uncommon. You can't turn a corner without running into a Subway franchise."


RE: Hmm,
By PlasmaBomb on 2/16/2009 4:52:35 PM , Rating: 5
We now go live to Asian Correspondent Tricia Takanawa, to see how locals are coping with the disaster...


The Hunt for Red October to the fullest...
By BarkHumbug on 2/16/2009 9:40:36 AM , Rating: 3
Betcha one of them was doing a "Crazy Ivan". ;)




By VoodooChicken on 2/16/2009 10:29:41 AM , Rating: 4
What do you think the odds are not a single crewman in either sub has ever seen Montana?


By iVTec on 2/16/2009 1:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Most modern nuclear submarines deploy a towed array sonar which specifically covers the baffles, rendering the Crazy Ivan mostly obsolete.

I know,Wikipedia crap,ain't it?


By BZDTemp on 2/16/2009 4:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
More like a "Crazy Frog" or perhaps a "Crazy Gentleman" :-)

Honestly it sounds like we all have seen to many Red October one time to many. Still it's the best of the lot and it has the best actor for the Ryan character.


LOL
By Tiamat on 2/16/2009 9:52:30 AM , Rating: 5
" First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band"

There are more letters in his prefix than in his entire name. I just found that funny. Carry on!




RE: LOL
By JediJeb on 2/16/2009 5:37:18 PM , Rating: 3
I noticed that too. It's like they want to keep every title they have ever had just stringing them together. Maybe I should try that, Mr. Dr. John Doe BS, MS, PhD, CCBW.


quoting reporter
By Yojimbo on 2/16/2009 12:08:18 PM , Rating: 5
Why does this article quote a journalist as an authoritative source?

quote:
States BBC's Caroline Wyatt, "This is clearly a one-in-a-million chance when you think about how big the Atlantic is. It is actually unbelievable that something happened."


How is a BBC reporter qualified to judge the probability of subs crashing in the Atlantic? Use some common sense in your journalism for christ's sake.




RE: quoting reporter
By jjmcubed on 2/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: quoting reporter
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 6:00:50 PM , Rating: 4
16 months of covering insurgent attacks doesn't provide any in-depth knowledge of strategic assets or naval tactics, nor does it give one the mathematical background to calculate probabilities. Several experts who actually have a little knowledge in these areas have already said this event really isn't that unlikely.


We surrender!
By the goat on 2/16/2009 12:02:28 PM , Rating: 5
There is more to the story then dailytech reported. . .

Despite the British vessel sustaining considerably more damage in the collision, the crew of the French submarine immediately tried to surrender after the collision.




RE: We surrender!
By Icelight on 2/18/2009 2:05:48 PM , Rating: 2
Man, I was hoping someone hadn't made that joke :(

I was planning on doing so.


Canadian's beware ...
By just4U on 2/16/2009 8:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
(grin)

Were going to have to take note of the names of these ships.. Last thing we need is for Britian or France to try and sell us some slightly used, heavily refurbished Nuclear Sub's at a supposed bargain price.

(I am kidding .. sortof)




RE: Canadian's beware ...
By Kugar on 2/18/2009 3:46:08 PM , Rating: 5
Always get a report from SubFax.com before purchasing a used sub.


By bravomail on 2/16/2009 9:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
If you follow slow enough the noise of lead (followed) submarine's engine and screw-propeller will cover follower.
Of course you have to follow close enough. Hence collisions.




RE: Usual deal when one sub secretly follows the other
By Hare on 2/16/2009 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
True, or at least it used to be. Nowadays subs use a towed array sonar so that there's no blind spot behind the sub (propeller masking).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Towed_array_sonar


By rudolphna on 2/16/2009 4:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
yes but submarines dont always run with the towed array extended, as it is several hundred meters long, and can get caught in the propeller during abrupt maneuvers. The primary sonar is the Bow Sphere sonar.


Sean Connery
By rburnham on 2/16/2009 11:32:20 AM , Rating: 5
"The day is mine, Trebek!"




The explanation is simple...
By Amiga500 on 2/16/2009 12:34:51 PM , Rating: 3
The English were travelling down the left hand side of the road...

The French, coming the opposite direction, were travelling down the right hand side of the road...

A collision was all but inevitable...




By pillagenburn on 2/17/2009 12:28:54 AM , Rating: 3
Now the French sub captain's Insurance rates get hiked. 3 point charge for the at-fault accident, 1-point charge for following too closely.




Well
By SlyNine on 2/16/2009 9:48:39 AM , Rating: 2
"The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean."

Perhaps they should send them a link of this DT blog. Seemed to make sense to me at least. Despite the odds being as low and hard to believe. It happened. big deal.




Finish the joke!
By Proteusza on 2/16/2009 12:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Two Nuclear Subs Collide in the Middle of the Atlantic


And.... whats the rest of the joke? Wheres the punchline?




Foolproof Sub Detection
By DKWinsor on 2/16/2009 4:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
escorted by a frigate, as it is the usual practice when leaving or coming back


Just look for the frigate.




Holy Conspiracy theory, Batman!
By Nirach on 2/17/2009 6:18:59 AM , Rating: 2
France wouldn't be tailing a British sub unless it was some sort of joint training exercise to test the anti-sonar technology (Which seems to be a massive success), which I expect would be publicised as some sort of "Look how well we get along" story.

I expect and fully believe that this was merely an accident caused by our very similar patrol areas.

Environmental pee-wees: A collision not dangerous enough to substantially penetrate the hull (There's no word of even a slight leak) is certainly not enough to destabilise the nuclear power systems, and certainly not the warheads. We're running decent technology and emergency systems, the power systems would probably have shutdown and started their cooldown cycles before the crew drowned, had it been that serious a situation.




What they need is...
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/17/2009 7:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
To install traffic lights and stop signs all over the Atlantic!!!

Of course, some sign showing an F117 stealth inside a red circle and overwritten by a thick red line would be in order to let them know that they are in a "non stealth area".




grammer
By Chernobyl68 on 2/17/2009 10:22:10 AM , Rating: 2
You don't "tug" something back to port, they're "towed".




Most likely
By poundsmack on 2/17/2009 1:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
Since the odds of hitting something in the ocean like that are 1 in a million, and we know the French sub had its front damaged and the Brit sub had to be towed back (meaning it was hit in the propeller), why do we think this is an accident?

Wouldn’t it make more sense, that 2 allied countries were perhaps doing something that would require cooperation or even a training exercise and something just went wrong? That makes the most sense to me anyways…




Nice Sensationalism!
By kelmon on 2/18/2009 9:06:26 AM , Rating: 2
While the fundamentals of the article are correct, I note that the author decided that some sensationalism was required to make it more entertaining reading. Take the following from the tag line, for example (emphasis mine):

quote:
Collision leaves two nuclear-armed subs badly damaged


Really? I must have missed that in the reports but apparently this stems from part of the article later:

quote:
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band said the collision was at low speed and while the damage was heavy , no injuries were reported.


No he didn't. All he said was that there was a collision at low speed and no injuries; there was nothing about damage. Further, the BBC article reports that HMS Vanguard displayed nothing more than "very visible dents and scrapes". There are no reports that damage was heavy and this is just made up to make things sound more exciting. That 2 submarines managed to collide in an ocean should be interesting enough but apparently not for Jason Mick.

Cite your sources or remove the offending parts of the article.

Frankly, this is just another reason why you should get your news from reputable sources rather than DailyTech.




The truth behind the collision!
By geekfool on 2/16/09, Rating: 0
There's a solution ...
By TA152H on 2/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: There's a solution ...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 10:31:28 AM , Rating: 5
There really isn't a huge amount of visibility in the deep sea. In turbid waters near the ocean bottom, visual right range might be a few meters or less, far too little to actually avoid a collision.

In any case, shining vast bright beams of light advertises a sub's position much more clearly than a brief sonar ping would...and we don't wish to do either, as they both defeat the entire point of the stealth technology.


RE: There's a solution ...
By 9nails on 2/16/2009 10:46:40 AM , Rating: 1
How stealthy do the French and British need to be during peaceful times? They're not exactly at war with each other are they? Or perhaps they're doing something wrong down there?

Positioning lights, like on aircraft, wouldn't be a terribly bad idea during peaceful times. Then again, I'm assuming these sub's have windows or other means for "looking out" and seeing these lights.


RE: There's a solution ...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 11:13:22 AM , Rating: 3
> "How stealthy do the French and British need to be during peaceful times?"

Exactly as stealthy as they need to be during wartime. Remember, one of their their purposes for being at sea in the first place is to train, in conditions roughly simulating wartime conditions. You can't keep the training wheels on the bike all the time.

But more importantly, if you advertise the position of a boomer, you defeat its entire raison d'etre. These platforms are intended to deter an enemy surprise first strike, by providing counterstrike capabilities. If other nations know where your boomers are at any given time, they can potentially be struck and that counterstrike capability doesn't exist.


RE: There's a solution ...
By Steve1981 on 2/16/2009 11:18:12 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
How stealthy do the French and British need to be during peaceful times?


Very stealthy.

We aren't talking about aircraft doing peace time milk runs here, we're talking about submarines that carry a full load of SLBMs acting as a deterrent to nuclear war. There is no "peace time" for them.


RE: There's a solution ...
By ianweck on 2/16/2009 11:28:06 AM , Rating: 4
There are certain sound characteristics for each class of submarine that can be determined. If you run around during "peacetime" sloppy with your sound silencing, anyone will be able to learn what you sound like. Subtle cues that are always there during operation will be picked up on and when you really need to be silent it may be more difficult. Like alot of things, knowledge is power and in this case if someone knows what to look for ahead of time, your advantage just got alot smaller.


RE: There's a solution ...
By TA152H on 2/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: There's a solution ...
By rudolphna on 2/16/2009 4:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
do you know WHY they dont get attacked? Because half of their nuclear arsenal is on land, in plain view.. The other half is under water, and could be anywhere in the world with an ocean deep enough. Its called a Deterrent, and MADD, Mutually Assured Destruction. Whicn means if you blow us up, we blow you up a million times worse. Ballistic Missile Subs represent the first, and last lines of defense. They have to be absolutely quiet. and then if you make them loud, say use diesels again. We get into a war? OOPS. We are screwed their submarines are quiet and ours sound like freight trains.. Might want to rethink that plan. ;)


RE: There's a solution ...
By Darkskypoet on 2/16/2009 7:15:15 PM , Rating: 2
Actually.. Hate to burst your bubble as it were; but Diesel subs are quieter then nuclear subs, however time on station is the draw back, as they do have to rise and charge batteries via the diesels. When running silent though, a diesel electric sub can be quieter, as there is absolutely no generation noise, whereas there is always some form of low level noise on a nuclear sub. Mainly because it takes so long to restart the reactor, they don't shut them down.

Seeing as time on station trumps the slight bit quieter diesel electric subs can be, I believe all boomers are nuclear.


RE: There's a solution ...
By Jedi2155 on 2/17/2009 2:34:25 AM , Rating: 3
Fuel Cell Subs..quieter....and already in service.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_212_submarine


RE: There's a solution ...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2009 6:16:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
"The energy you could create from directionally lighting would exceed a few meters. Deep sea is dark because it's far from the source of light.

A directional light beam would not be detectable except via the direction it was sent from
No. You missed my use of the word "turbid". In turbid waters, visibility would indeed be only a few meters, no matter how bright your light. Try diving sometime in the North Atlantic. You'll see just how low visibility can be...it's not all the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean.

As for light being "directional", this is wrong as well. Even in atmosphere, light isn't completely directional -- which explains why one can see the beam of a powerful spotlight, even if its not pointed directly at you. In the ocean -- which tends to have a far greater amount of suspended particles floating about -- the amount of backscatter is much greater.

> "Who is going to attack the English and French now?"

As long as they have their nuclear deterrent-- no one will. Without it, it's anyone's guess. History makes one thing painfully clear, however. Wars happen, and they're often begun by surprise attacks. If a strategic nuclear sub needs to be at sea in the first place, then it needs to be stealthy when doing so.

> "Between the very unlikely event you'd actually be seen by someone above the sea"

Above the sea? What are you talking about? Hang a massive headlight on the front of your sub, and you're advertising your position to every other sub in the sea -- not to mention defeating several billion dollars worth of expensive stealth technology.


RE: There's a solution ...
By karielash on 2/16/2009 10:31:32 AM , Rating: 2

These are Missile subs, they are a deterrent and each country only has one sub each at sea to act as it's deterrent, they are supposed to maintain secrecy at all costs and remain undetected, it's their whole job, both subs would have been crawling at very slow speed (probably no more than a couple of knots) they do not want to be seen by anyone, if there location becomes known for any reason they fail at being their respective countries deterrent.

They performed their role perfectly and unfortunately hit each other, I would love to see you convince both navies that sticking a bloody light on the front of their only nuclear deterrent ship at sea is a grand idea and would allow people to see them....... I think I could sum up their response in two words....


RE: There's a solution ...
By PrinceGaz on 2/16/2009 1:23:19 PM , Rating: 3
Sticking a big light on the front of the sub?

I think I could some up their response in one gesture (using one finger).


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