A report by Britain’s National Audit Office revealed that the Ministry of Defense is concerned that recent budget cuts have put the country at risk due to a shortage of modern attack submarines. The National Audit Office said delays to the new Astute class would leave the Navy without sufficient submarines for operations over part of the next decade while adding £200 million to the cost of the programme. Submarine delay due to budget cuts ‘puts Britain’s security at risk’
In related news, HMS Astute, the first of the new class of “hunter-killer” subs, has successfully test-fired a Tomahawk missiles across the Gulf of Mexico. HMS Astute has had more than its share of problems. The submarine, the Royal Navy’s most advanced nuclear submarine, was delivered 43 months behind schedule and £900 million over budget. Then during trials in October, it ran aground off the Isle of Skye. It was also in a collision with the tug that came to help pull it off. In December, the sub was idled by mechanical failures. Then in the beginning of April, a disgruntled sailor shot and killed one ship’s officer and wounded another while the ship was on public relations call in Southhampton. The ship that the British papers had begun to call “HMS Calamity” is now being referred to as “jinxed.” The successful missile firing has been greeted by the press with pleasure and veiled surprise.
The Germans recently had a naming ceremony for their new non-nuclear hydrogen fuel cell powered submarine, the U35, which can operate underwater for three weeks without surfacing, is extremely quiet and said to be virtually undetectable. The submarine also has diesel power for surface operations. The design sounds very interesting and advanced, even if the submarine’s name is less than catchy.
Thanks to Alaric Bond for passing on articles used in the post.