back to article All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

None of the Royal Navy's seven attack submarines are deployed on operations at the moment, according to reports, which potentially threatens the security of Britain's nuclear deterrent. The Sun reported this morning that six of the seven boats are in maintenance – except for the seventh, HMS Astute, which is still undergoing …

    1. Tom 7

      Re: It is not UK defences it is other places UK should worry about Port Stanley?

      We will be handing the Malvinas over to the Argies to get access to the WTO in a couple of years so that should save a bob or two in missplaced roadsigns.

      1. RPF

        Re: It is not UK defences it is other places UK should worry about Port Stanley?

        That'll be 4 5th-generation fighters, Voland. Nothing the Argies have got can match, them, not even numbers.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: It is not UK defences it is other places UK should worry about

      "... the rather impotent Typhoon wing stationed there (grand total of FOUR, yes FOUR fighters if memory serves me right)."

      That's not a 'wing', that's a nugget.

      1. ISP

        Re: It is not UK defences it is other places UK should worry about

        Based on recent reports the whole Argentine fighter force consists of four or five airworthy A-4AR Fightinghawks (aka Skyhawks with modernised avionics) which are at best transonic and can carry a whole two short range AAMs. I fancy the Typhoons chances actually, even if they have got more operational again.

  1. Eddy Ito
    Facepalm

    undergoing repairs after ramming a civilian tanker

    Now I'm no expert and I get they are attack subs but still I think, perhaps, they're doing it wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Those captains didn't still read past the Battle of Salamis chapter in the naval warfare book....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      perhaps, they're doing it wrong.

      Rather worrying that either the crew/commander were incompetent, or that the sub can't detect something like a 36,000 tonne tanker until it goes "bonk" into it. Particularly when the sub was taking part in an exercise at the time.

      Whichever applies, it doesn't bode well.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No EU Discount

    Would the German subs really be so cheap without the EU discount? What about maintaining the pride of Her Majesty's naval superiority? Can't claim to be better than Germany sailing around in German ships.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: No EU Discount

      Liz's family is originally from Germany so she'd probably be just as happy.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: No EU Discount

        @phuzz

        If we write that about the progeny of immigrants we can be accused of racism. If we write that about Her Majesy we can be accused of treason.

        In these modern times, which is worse?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No EU Discount

        "Liz's family is originally from Germany so she'd probably be just as happy."

        And Charles is more Greek than German, what of it?

        1. Tom Paine

          Re: No EU Discount

          Some people seem to believe that national loyalty is a male line recessive trait, i.e., genetic. They're joking, of course, except that they're not, really.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to deal with a government PMO...

    How to deal with a government Program (or Project) Management Office.

    If the entire PMO staff arrives to meetings in one taxicab, then you're good. You'll be fine.

    But if the PMO staff numbers in the dozens and dozens, then rent an office building and hire actors to interact with them. Keep them entertained for years while the project proceeds in peace.

    It's the only solution.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > With no attack submarines able to put to sea – if one believes The Sun – this leaves the UK's maritime defences perilously low.

    Send up those shiny new Nimrod MRA4s.

    Oh wait...

    1. MT Field

      Those Nimrod MRA4's were never shiny or new. They were made out of recycled Comets FFS.

      The reality is we are much reduced in stature, being unable to maintain or afford the type of defence force we once were used to. We need to face the new reality and structure our armed forces accordingly. This also means letting BAE Systemized Cockup Corp to the wall and buying all equipment from the open international markets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The reality is we are much reduced in stature, being unable to maintain or afford the type of defence force we once were used to

        Actually, we have the third largest defence budget in the world, and spend more than enough for a very well equipped and scary military. Unfortunately MoD and HMT ensure that it is mostly squandered.

        1. Tom Paine

          Funny enough _I_ clearly remember seeing a histogram showing the UK as having the third biggest defence budget in the world, but Wikipedia says 5th: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

          Be that as it may, it seems pretty unlikely that we have the fifth most capable military forces in the world. Piling huge amounts of money into a small number of very expensive bits of kit (aircraft carriers, F35s, whatever) is fine and dandy when those assets have overwhelming superiority. If, god forbid, we ever get back into a shooting war with a moderately well equipped modern military and have a couple of strokes of bad luck (anti-ship missile hitting one of those carriers, for instance) it'd be all over bar the shouting. I was a young teenager at the time of the Falklands and got rather swept up in it all, and back then the cold war RN was , what, three? four? five times larger than today's RN. Even so, had an Exocet hit Hermes or Invincible, we'd be living in a very different parallel universe today.

        2. Potemkine Silver badge

          we have the third largest defence budget in the world

          The fifth one, more precisely

      2. David Webb

        Buying ships off the open market would seriously piss off the SNP, we build boats we don't really need (and can't afford) in Scotland to keep the skills there and keep money going there, the SNP would be the first to slam Westminster if they shopped in Germany. #indyref2

      3. Commswonk

        This also means letting BAE Systemized Cockup Corp to the wall and buying all equipment from the open international markets.

        Quite so; see how well the F35 procurement is going. And IIRC there has been a hold up in the Fleet Auxiliaries being built in South Korea.

        BAE - bashing is all very well but is there any evidence that the current (alleged) problems with the submarine fleet is attributable to them?

        1. ISP

          "Those Nimrod MRA4's were never shiny or new. They were made out of recycled Comets FFS."

          Unlike the very modern E-3 Sentry AWACS which was introduced in 1977 and is based on the 1950's Boing 707...

          So tired of this dumbass argument. For those type of roles a suitable airframe is all you need as long as it hasn't passed it's fategue life.

  5. Bloodbeastterror

    When are we goint to stop pretending...

    ...thet we're a world power? That was valid in our leading of the Industrial Revolution, but in the last century the phrase "lions led by donkeys" has never been more true.

    1. sandman

      Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

      Sorry. I'm going to have to disagree with your use of the word "led". We have some world-class officers and men, expensively trained and very experienced in many cases. It's the political and bureaucratic end (let's not call it leadership) that is sorely lacking.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

      UK _STILL_ _IS_ a world power. At least, that's how I see it. Things ought to look more interesting post-Brexit. No worries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

        Well, well, well, Rule bloody fucking Britannia! Post-Self-Apocalypse don't you mean? You're an island that makes no products and has little relevance in the modern world. Why don't you ask India to build your subs like they do with the much improved Jags? Financial markets doing the money-wank in ye olde Londoninum Town are not a "world power" be, me old son.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

          "You're an island that makes no products and has little relevance in the modern world."

          Still a pretty major arms exporter, for good or ill.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When are we goint to stop pretending...

        @bombastic bob - I hate to break this to you, but - and I say this as a very patriotic subject of Her Majesty, and I'm ex-military myself - the UK is not a military world power in the sense that it once was, not even remotely. You're delusional if you think otherwise, IMHO.

        Post-Brexit, we'll still be in NATO, and our government will still doubtless have the shockingly bad taste to be in bed with the USA and the so-called 'special relationship' (which so far as most folk I know can see means our government lets the US government shaft the UK more or less at will).

        I've said it before, but it bears saying again - in the UK we are Europeans, and we have a lot more in common with other Europeans than we do with the USAliens. Heck, we have more in common with Canada than we do with the USA. Never mind that the EU pissed us off so badly that we ended up deciding to leave the EU - that's more a comment on the flaws in the EU up to this point (and the intransigence of certain EU politicians in failing to accept criticism of the way the EU had been run), it's not a rejection of our being European.

        But the UK a wold power, on it's tod? Today? Don't make me laugh!

  6. adam payne

    "The Ministry of Defence does not comment on submarine operations."

    The Ministry of Defence does not comment on anything because they have run out of excuses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Convenient!!

      Don't comment on submarine operations, because you don't have any operating submarines! Thank you for your time, Commodore Yossarian!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MAIB

    https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/collision-between-the-stern-trawler-karen-and-a-dived-royal-navy-submarine

    It might help if they didn't pelt down the Irish sea through a maze of fishing boats at 20 knots...

    Yeah, sure the cod-end cut itself, they do that.

    1. Potemkine Silver badge

      Re: MAIB

      https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/collision-between-the-stern-trawler-karen-and-a-dived-royal-navy-submarine

      They were luckier than the poor ones on the Bugaled Breizh, whose families still don't know the truth about the accident.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is fine...

    ...we can just keep track of Russian submarines with our large fleet of patrol aircraft.

    Oh right...

    Should I just warm up the samovar for our new overlords?

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What are they using for brains and who/what are they trying badly to protect?

    Hmmm ….. Would the passing of Planned Espionage Act could jail journos and whistleblowers as spies into law condemn El Reg and/or Gareth Corfield to the serving of time in a secured facility because of their reporting of this news …. All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report …. which is freely available from any number of other sources.

    Will someone please tell Law Commissioner Professor David Ormerod QC only fools need bad laws that intelligence ignores for follies to fester eventually and/or prosper initially.

    Times and spaces have changed and the Great Game has new leading non-state actors and novel modes and memes for Innovative Program Delivery ..... Future ZeroDay Traded Supply with Myriad Vulnerabilities to Exploit and Expand upon.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The world is much safer then...

    This "nuclear deterrent" is a "nuclear disaster in waiting": https://wikileaks.org/trident-safety/

  11. Daggerchild Silver badge
    Boffin

    Sea drones!

    It'll all be clouds of air/sea drones in future, running from a civilian cargo vessel, that pumps ice armour over its sides, with a flotilla of secondary recharging platform roboboats.

    And the breeding, training and augmentation of local wildlife also continues apace. The Cyber-nessie Armada!

    Never mind the kamikaze seal packs, and the seagulls with flourescing poop for missile targeting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sea drones!

      Weaponized Seals and seagulls. Please!

      This is old news. Back in 2001, I distinctly remember psychically controlled Giant Squids taking down Frigates. And dolphins with backpacks destroying cruise missile firing dreadnoughts.

  12. Blofeld's Cat
    Facepalm

    Hmm...

    "... undergoing repairs after ramming a civilian tanker ..."

    "... I don't know how many of you men know this, but the Codfish holds the record for the most Japanese tonnage sunk. Being comprised of five freighters and fifteen aircraft carriers. A truly enviable record. Unfortunately, they were sunk in 1954. However, it stands as the largest peacetime tonnage ever sunk ..."

    Cruise of the USS Codfish - Bob Newhart

  13. John 104

    Diesel Electric

    yes, you go ahead and use that silent technology and let us know how well it works out for you...

    1. Commswonk

      Re: Diesel Electric

      Noise problems aside the "electric" capabilities of a submarine really are piss - poor compared to a nuclear powered vessel. Unless something dramatic has happened by way of development their speed when submerged and running on batteries is inadequate and their endurance running thus equally poor. In addition I don't think any serious opposition would have any real difficulty finding a submarine running at snorkel depth to recharge the batteries.

      And in 2017 if a submarine spends most of its time running surfaced then it probably didn't need to have a submersible capability in the first place.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Diesel Electric

        The subs aren't diesel-electric, they use fuel cells. Apologies for any confusion.

        C.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Diesel Electric

          Fuel cells? That's sixties technology. A better idea is to fit a wind turbine to the back of the sub. It's normally quite windy at sea, *and* this is a modern environment friendly solution. There are literally no down sides to this approach. BAE should pioneer new wind powered submarines, and corner the market.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I'd go with the fuel cell variant: Type 212 Submarine

  15. Jason Hindle

    Britain lost the core competency

    To make its own submarines*, and it mostly boils down to the governments of Blair and then Brown**.

    * And aircraft carriers, nuclear reactors and actual aircraft. Compared to the French, it all looks a tad pathetic.

    ** And I wrote that at someone who never voted for/kissed a sodding Tory BTW.

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Shoo class fast patrol craft

    Armed not with conventional guns but lethal loud hailers to "shoo away" unwelcome vessels

  17. Syntax Error

    All Down

    So all the subs were down at the same time.

    Thats pretty cool MOD. It must of taken some exceptional organising to achieve .

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: All Down

      Well, looks like someone in the MoD was under the impression that subs are supposed to go down, but got confused about the details.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NX-01 "Shawyer"

    Surely the Russians could just use the CPP Potkustart, sea supremacy is basically irelevant against orbital bombardment with antimatter-enriched tricobalt devices and rail guns.

    Of course we have our own spaceships right? Hiding in that crater on the dark side of the Moon, just in case the SHTF and we need to teach dem Russkies/Norks/etc who is "Da Boss" (tm) powered with that advanced space-drive that everyone said was only good for 0.01N/kW and inertial electrostatic fusion based on that British inventor's work back in the 1950's.

    You really think they spent all that money on subs?! HAHAHAHA.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: NX-01 "Shawyer"

      Wow, 5 (7 if you want to get technical) entertaining conspiracy theories in one post - now that's what I call good value!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NX-01 "Shawyer"

      I want some of what you're smoking

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: NX-01 "Shawyer"

        Um.. Not sure how to put this but it isn't *all* conspiracy theories.

        See the press release this afternoon, thats all I can say at the moment.

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