Deep Trouble for Astute Submarine

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Armand2REP, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Deep Trouble for Astute Submarine
    By GORDON TAIT

    Published: 11 Aug 2010

    A JINXED £1billion Royal Navy submarine had to return to port during sea trials - after its anchor broke down.

    The setback is the latest blow to hit nuclear-powered vessel Astute - which was completed four years late and over-budget.

    A technical fault prevented the chain, which attaches the anchor to the sub, from uncoiling.

    It was being tested off the north coast of Scotland when the latest problem was discovered.

    The submarine - said to be more technologically advanced than the space shuttle - was forced to return to its base at Faslane on the River Clyde.

    A team of engineers is now investigating.

    It's the latest blow for the trouble-hit sub - which was finished four years behind schedule and at double the original budget. An electrical fire broke out on board earlier this year.

    Last night, a Navy source said: "For a sub that is so hi-tech, it's the basic things that seem to go wrong. This is very embarrassing for the Navy and for the sub's contractors, BAE defence systems."

    The sub won't become HMS Astute until it passes the rigorous trials and is formally handed over to the Royal Navy.

    Another source said: "The crew are worried about the problems. They must be fixed without cutting corners."

    The 7,400-ton vessel - which can stay under water for 25 years without running out of fuel - carries Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land missiles.

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/hom...y-nuclear-submarine-Astute.html#ixzz0wTO6FLie
     
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  3. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Jinxed nuclear submarine’s malfunction could have killed its entire crew


    8 May 2011
    The Royal Navy’s latest £1.2 billion nuclear submarine, HMS Astute, has been towed back to base after a malfunction which could have killed the entire crew, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

    The hi-tech stealth vessel was taken to the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde late on Friday when it suffered “a technical issue with hydraulics”, according to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) source.
    “This needs to be fixed to make sure it can dive properly,” the source said. “It could take days, or it could take weeks.”
    Experts say that the boat’s hydroplanes, which enable it to dive or surface, are hydraulically controlled. If they fail, the boat could be lost, along with its entire crew of 98.
    The ill-fated HMS Astute is infamous for being the scene of a fatal shooting a month ago when it was docked in Southampton, and for accidentally running aground off the Isle of Skye last October. The boat has been plagued by a series of other mishaps, including a fire, being hit by a falling ramp and problems with its toilets.
    HMS Astute left Faslane on Wednesday for sea trials, but returned soon after just two days. One insider told the Sunday Herald that the captain, Commander Iain Breckenridge, had “no confidence in the performance of the vessel”.
    The nuclear consultant, John Large, who has advised governments on submarine safety, pointed out that the hydraulics that controlled the hydroplanes were “a fundamental safety system that can’t be ignored”.
    He said: “If you don’t have the hydraulics, the boat could sink with all hands on board. It’s a serious problem.”
    The danger that submarines like HMS Astute could have difficulties surfacing was highlighted in a secret report by the MoD’s own nuclear safety watchdog. Commodore Andrew McFarlane, the chief defence nuclear safety regulator, warned that there was a “risk of multiple fatalities resulting from loss of depth control”.
    His report was released under freedom of information law with large sections blacked out.

    But researchers discovered that the censored text could be read simply by cutting and pasting it into a new document.
    This revealed that British submariners were more likely to drown than their American counterparts if the reactor that powered their boat failed while they are under water. British submarines “accept a much lower reliability from the main propulsion system” and the back-up system “will not provide sufficient dynamic lift”, McFarlane said.
    HMS Astute is the first of seven “state-of-the-art” Astute class submarines, which are being built at Barrow in Cumbria. They have been beset by delays and budget overruns, and could end up costing over £10bn.
    The Royal Navy operates 10 other nuclear-powered submarines out of Faslane, including four Vanguard class boats, which carry Trident nuclear missiles. The Sunday Herald disclosed in April that one of them, HMS Vengeance, had to cut short a training exercise in the North Atlantic when its propeller became blocked with debris.
    An MoD spokeswoman said: “We do not routinely comment on submarine movements.”


    Jinxed nuclear submarine’s malfunction could have killed its entire crew - Herald Scotland | News | Home News
     

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