Friday, 22 October 2010

Isle of Skye - 2, Royal Navy nuclear fleet - 0

News is coming in from the Isle of Skye that the new HMS Astute, described to journalists earlier this year as "the uncrashable submarine", has, er, crashed.

That's the second submarine learner drivers have put onto the rocks around the Isle of Skye in recent years. It's a pretty big island, how do they keep hitting into it?

Looking at Ross McKerlich's pictures on the BBC Scotland website it looks as if the Astute became stuck on rocks just south of the Butec testing range in Kyleakin early this morning.

(UPDATE - the graphic on the BBC website now indicates the sub is north of Kyleakin, near the old Z berth at Broadford).

HMS Trafalgar sustained millions of pounds worth of damage when it ran aground on another part of the coast of Skye in 2002.

Having lost one of our own submarines it looks as if we've lost one of theirs too. There's a great story in the Daily Record today about how the US has lost track of a Russian Akula class attack submarine somewhere in the Atlantic.

One of the biggest question marks over the defence review earlier this week was how the Royal Navy was going to find Russian submarines, and so protect our own nuclear fleet, if the Nimrod replacements were cancelled?

We were told, in briefings, that other resources would be deployed - which we read as US satellite and underwater listening systems that litter the Atlantic. Now it seems the sub hunters are American P3 aircraft doing the job of the Nimrods. Except, it doesn't look as if they are doing it.

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