Embarrassing and rather bad timing. Billed as the “world’s most advanced nuclear submarine,” the recently christened HMS Astute ran aground this morning off the Isle of Skye.
The grounding of the £1.2 billion Astute hunter-killer comes at the end of a dire week for the Royal Navy which has seen its carrier force halved, Harrier jump jets axed and warship force reduced by almost a quarter.
It is understood that the boat, which is first in its class, ran aground by its stern in a manoeuvre that “went slightly wrong” after it had dropped some sailors ashore in tidal waters off the Isle of Skye.
As the tide rapidly ebbed it is thought the skipper of Astute, Commander Andy Coles, decided not to power it off the obstruction as it would risk damaging the hull that carries some of the most advanced acoustic tiles that make Astute virtually undetectable beneath the seas.
The submarine, which carries a crew of 98, will now wait until later today for tug boats to pull her off when the tide comes in.
A video taken by Paul Yoxon, a wildlife biologist on the Isle of Skye, of the “stealth sub” stuck in the mud.