Saturday, November 17, 2012

Britain Still Can't Build a Decent Submarine

Canada got suckered into buying their previous disaster subs and wound up with them out of service from the get go and for years afterward.  

Now it's the Royal Navy's turn to get stuck with lousy boats.   They're the supposedly latest and greatest hunter-killer subs of the Astute class.

The latest revelations show Astute, the first of seven new submarines costing around £10billion, is unable to reach its intended top speed.

It means the sub cannot sprint to emergencies or speed from an attack.

It would also be incapable of keeping pace with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which need the submarines to protect them.

The Astute class as a whole is now four years overdue and £2billion over budget.

...And the subs have been surrounded by controversy since first being commissioned 15 years ago.

In 2010, the first to be launched, HMS Astute, ran aground off Skye, a mishap which led to its then commander Andy Coles being dubbed Captain Calamity.

Now it has emerged that a cap on a pipe which carries seawater sprang a leak during exercises off the US.

And the vessel, which launched in 2009, has also suffered corrosion, even though it is essentially new.

Computer circuit boards have had to be moved or replaced as they did not meet safety standards.

And there has been concern over instruments monitoring the nuclear reactor because poor quality lead was used.

Concerns have even been raised about Astute’s pioneering periscope system, which does not allow officers to look at the surface “live”.

The periscope takes 360 degree images which are sent to the bridge and, according to sources, are often blurred when the sea is choppy.


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