How many hunter killers are operational

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Kromeriz, Feb 18, 2013.

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  1. Radiation leak on nuclear sub off Scots coast | UK | News | Daily Express.

    So what is left?
    Was it really clever to reduce to a 7 boat fleet?


    HMS Tireless was taking part in a training exercise for new officers off the west coast 10 days ago when a problem developed in its ageing 30-year-old reactor system.

    The 4,800 tonne Trafalgar-class submarine was ordered to limp back to Faslane naval base on the Clyde, where engineers inspected the leak. She has now returned to her home base at Devonport and faces up to 10 months in dry dock while repair work is carried out.

    The incident has reduced the hunter-killer fleet to five subs instead of the recommended seven plus a spare needed to carry out vital duties, including protecting the UK’s Trident missile-carrying Vanguard subs.
    Clearly, it is important to be cautious when dealing with nuclear subs
    Former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West
    Of those five, HMS Astute, Britain’s brand new £1.2billion attack sub which ran aground off Skye in 2010, is still not fully operational, and at least one other is undergoing maintenance.

    The leak will also fuel the heated political debate about nuclear submarines operating in Scottish waters. Alex Salmond has offered a cast-iron guarantee that he will expel Trident from the Clyde – where it supports up to 11,000 jobs – if Scots go for independence.

    Last night, Angus Robertson MP, the SNP’s Westminster leader and defence spokesman, called on the Ministry of Defence to clarify exactly what had happened. He said: “This is the latest in a long line of alarming incidents involving nuclear submarines off the coast of Scotland.

    “We need assurances from the MoD about the particular circumstances of this one, and we need to know that all necessary safety procedures were enacted fully and there was no danger to public safety.”

    Royal Navy officials were unable to say exactly where the sub was when the leak developed, but sources confirmed it was in Scottish waters.

    Launched in 1984, HMS Tireless was due to be decommissioned this year, but her service was extended by four years due to the delay in the roll-out of the new Astute-class submarines.

    It is the second time that “HMS Tired”, as she has been dubbed, has been forced to spend almost a year out of action due to reactor problems.

    In May 2000 she was stranded at Gibraltar, where she stayed for 12 months, after being forced to make an “emergency call’ at the port following a radiation leak.

    It was later revealed that the submarine’s pressurised water reactor had suffered a crack in its coolant system, which could result in the uranium rods being exposed.

    The latest incident comes just weeks after the Clyde-based ballistic nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant was stranded in the US after its rudder broke, despite a £350million refit.

    Speaking last night former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West said: “Clearly, it is important to be cautious when dealing with nuclear subs.

    “However, it is a fact that T-class submarines are old, with operating systems designed more than 30 years ago.

    “Because  of problems in ordering the new Astute-class submarines, they are replacing T-Class boats later than one would have hoped. We can’t afford problems like this.”

    Andy Smith of the UK National Defence Association, said: “The problems with HMS Tireless illustrate the folly of trying to have ‘defence on the cheap’ and failing to upgrade or replace equipment due to political short-sightedness and a defence policy dictated by the treasury rather than the military.”

    A Royal Navy spokesman said: “HMS Tireless returned to Devonport Naval Base last week for repair following a small coolant leak that was contained within the sealed reactor compartment.

    “There is no risk to the public, the environment or the crew.”
  2. Do you really expect an answer?
  3. Probably means two operational and worked up at most.

    In fairness UK nuke subs from the 80's were very well made. The reactor systems were and should still be of the highest standard. All Nuke fleets have problems, we just seem to tell more than most.
  4. Does it matter?

    Navy is in a shit state. And I watched all the S and T boats be launched. Dreadful times now and any semblance of talk of balanced forces should be thrown out the window.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Although it doesn't sound adequately scary for the likes of the media and its rent-a-quote advisors, "a coolant leak contained within the sealed reactor compartment" is not the same as "a radiation leak".

    Nonetheless, the ramifications for RN SSN operational availability certainly are serious.
  6. Five of the recommended seven?
    As far as I remember the only **** who thought seven was enough was Hoon
  7. I can think of one other...

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Spot on. The British maladie is the desire to self-flagellate publicly. What you have to bear in mind, is that nuclear propulsion is a relatively immature technology (in comparison to diesel, or steam) and the boats we are talking about are only 2nd generation design. Couple this with the unknown effects of containing people for prolonged periods within closed atmospheres and you have the potential for a whole host of chronic health problems from a couple of generations of submariners. The early days, there was not even basic atmosphere sampling. I think oxygen partial pressure monitors only became introduced in the 1990s - before that you tested for oxygen concentration by trying to light a zippo: no ignition, then get up to PD and snort to refresh the atmosphere. Simples!
  9. I'm no expert, but I suspect that is total bollocks.
  10. wanna put your money where your mouth is? PM me=D
  11. Having spent many years pushing "S" boats around, there are always snags with a machine so technical. But they survive, makes a good story for the newspapers though.
  12. Its worth remembering that the UK seems to have a strange tendancy to want to publicly self flagellate its institutions and capabilities. The French and US Navy also regularly suffer from maintenance problems with their SSN fleets - indeed some years ago a French had many crew killed onboard. Dont even get me started on the Russian or Chinese boats either.
    The reality is all nations struggle to keep these bloody complicated vessels going, its just that our sailors / dockyard workers seem to enjoy tipping off the press about it. Don't for one moment assume all other nuclear powers dont have just as many problems - they just seem slightly better at keeping quiet about it!
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Still takes us back to the need for more platforms. How old are the T boats now?

    So with the 2 Astute class we have 7 boats now... of which not all are operational. Terrible situation.
  14. In fact reading wiki, it says that Tireless will decom this year, taking us to just 6 boats.

    Torbay is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015 and will be replaced by one of the new Astute class submarines.[SUP][3][/SUP] As of 2012 she is undergoing extended maintenance and upgrades, with a return to service planned for summer 2013

    So maybe 5 boats max.