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. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

    Because all this money seems to have given us missiles going off the wrong way and submarines which all break down at the same time, which is difficult to achieve with the billions thrown at it every year.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

      It's not difficult at all. BAE Systems, for instance, have perfected the art of absorbing tons of money while delivering useless, over-budget, barely functional junk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

        BAE Systems, for instance, have perfected the art of absorbing tons of money while delivering useless, over-budget, barely functional junk

        It is a joint effort. BAES are far from blame free, but MoD and military are possibly even more culpable, for overly ambitious specification in the first place, releasing contracts with specs that are incomplete, conflicting, or simply unbuildable, and then for relentlessly and shamelessly changing the specification all the time until (and sometimes after) the kit is delivered.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ambitious specs, incomplete/conflicted specs, changing specs...

          Sounds like the US DoD to me. This apple didn't fall far enough from the UK tree.

      2. HAL-9000

        Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

        Quite, MoD contracts have always represented stupendously good value for money. Plus BAE have had a good number of years to practice the dark art ;)

    2. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

      Well, they're 18 months old and run on Intel C2000 chips. Nuff said?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

      All of the Trident money has been spent of making shareholders wealthy and, from that point of view, it's been a very successful program. Whether any of this very expensive kit works very well, or is even really needed, is irrelevant.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

      just to point out...

      A while back, the USA decided that building the Seawolf class of submarines was WAY too expensive. So, they had the subs re-designed to incorporate a number of 'more modern' design concepts, like modularity, and computer-aided design, and VR for seeing inside a digital mockup [so you don't have to build one out of wood], and things of that nature, and SIGNIFICANTLY shaved down the cost of building a new boat, so after building only a very small number of Seawolf classes, the US Navy started buying Virginia class subs, which are supposed to have very similar capabilities but at a much lower cost per boat.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia-class_submarine

      This might be a good way to go, to keep costs down, yet continue to meet the needs of a WORLD POWER like the UK. Or is it being done already?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

        It happened already. Consultants in the US were used to simplify the design of your Astute class. It is possible that any problems introduced is some American's fault.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ok, what's the Trident money really been spent on?

      Well, for a start this isn't about Trident, it's about the Astute-class submarines. Two distinct programmes.

      Secondly, the key point to the article is "if one believes The Sun". Which as a rule, I don't.

      Besides, the dodgy Trident missile that went haywire and headed for the US? It was when Trump started looking likely to be president, so for all we know it's just the first time a missile has shown sentience.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    You know that episode of South Park, where they're on about the conspiracy's, and George Bush is holding the documents and he yawns and drops them? You know, so that it makes the kids think he's dropped them by accident but actually wanted them to find the documents?

    Well maybe, just maybe, this is a ploy using Her Majesty's toilet paper The S*n as a way to trick the Russians in to thinking we don't have any subs. Then when they send a trawler ALL 15 MILLION BRITISH SUBMARINES RISE UP AND TORPEDO IT!

    Sorry, too much coffee and Night Nurse for me today.

    1. Ellipsis
      Thumb Up

      Britannia, rule the waves!

      Make the Royal Navy great again!

      etc…

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ALL 15 MILLION BRITISH SUBMARINES RISE UP AND TORPEDO IT!

      I dunno - sounds like the circular firing squad scenario.

    3. SquidEmperor

      Collateral Damage

      I simulated this in my bath last night and the cat still hasn't come home.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errata

    I think you meant to close with:

    "The Ministry of Defence does not conduct submarine operations."

    Twats. Total fucking twats. There's about 57,000 civilian staff, god knows how many military on secondment and similiar, and the useless, useless fuckers can't build carriers with aircraft, cancel ASW programmes without any replacement, build surface vessels that break down all the time and make so much noise the deaf can hear them coming, they evidently can't even organise a fleet of largely defensive nuclear powered subs. The RAF are trying to sellotape bombs to the Typhoon because there's no strike fighters available due to the MoD being asleep at the wheel for fifty plus years, the Army are only just overcoming the tragedy of snatch Landrovers, and still have equipment challenges. The A400M is more expensive than a far more capable C17, but you press on with your useless Eurocrap projects for missiles, aircraft and helicopters.

    And to cap it all, the MoD have been actively complicit in the witch hunt against former soldiers. A message to the Ministry of Defence: You should be ashamed of yourselves, you couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery. Is it any wonder the military are struggling to recruit, when traitors like you lot are accruing gold plated pensions in return for your wretched incompetence?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Errata

      MOD ==== More Operational Disasters

      or worse.

      MOD-PE (or whatever they are called now) are just a bunch of useless PHB's who certainly could not organise their way out of a paper bag unless it had BAE on the inside.

      The constant changes in spec really hurt our ability to defend ourelves.

      I was watching the documentary on the birth of the SAS the other night. Faced with having a base that consisted of a tent, a table, two chairs and a sign, they went out an nicked all they needed. Go the job done with the minimum of fuss. That sort of improvisation would just not be alloed these days. I guess it won't be long before every platoon will have an MOD lawyer attached to say, 'sorry chaps, you can't do that. We might get sued'.

      Numpties the lot of them.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Errata

        Quote: Numpties the lot of them.

        It has ever been so.... even back in my youthful days where we did various naughty things, the MOD penny pinchers did their level best to f*** everything up

        We wanted 5 tools for machining a very horrid alloy for job involved with those ungentlemanly war machines with bubbleheads in them (submarines to you lot).

        MoD thought they cost way too much and cut the order down to 2... which broke 2/5 of the way through the job(hence the need for 5).

        Upon the gold braid arriving, my manager invited said numpties down to the factory floor to explain to the brass exactly why 2 million pounds of kit was sitting on our floor because they did'nt want to spend 200 quid on tools.....

        It was one of those popcorn moments you treasure forever

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Errata

      This.

  4. NightFox

    "six of the seven boats are in maintenance – except for the seventh"

    Just sayin', like.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well at least our Trident subs are working, aren't they ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apparently they are now

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      "Well at least our Trident subs are working, aren't they ?"

      The submarines, maybe; the Tridents, maybe not...

      1. Phil W

        Personally I think the missiles work just fine. I heard that the "problem" was not with the missile but with the targeting data sent to it, so quite possibly human error not system failure.

        Unless it wasn't error? The targeting data mysteriously resulted in the missile flying over mainland USA rather than out to sea. Could this have been a test in case Trump goes totally off his rocker?

        N.B. (For MI5 and the CIA) I'm joking of course (except for the bit about it being human error rather than system failure).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The target was in the wrong place.

        2. Captain DaFt

          "Unless it wasn't error? The targeting data mysteriously resulted in the missile flying over mainland USA rather than out to sea. Could this have been a test in case Trump goes totally off his rocker?"

          Could have been an 'Ahem!' at Russia.

          From Florida to Moscow, the shortest route would be a 'great circle' route over the polar region, up and across the US and Canada.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy

        "The submarines, maybe; the Tridents, maybe not..."

        Well, I've always held that you could just fill the missiles with concrete and get the same effect. The point of nuclear weapons isn't possessing working weapons, but rather getting the enemy to think that you have working weapons. A country could easily become quite powerful by just making it appear that they are building massive numbers of nuclear missiles while only building one a decade, testing it, and then keep claiming that you have many more.

        Of course, I've also held that you really only need one nuclear weapon so long as you produce evidence to each potential adversary that its pointed right at their leaders' home.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          A country could easily become quite powerful by just making it appear that they are building massive numbers of nuclear missiles while only building one a decade, testing it, and then keep claiming that you have many more.

          "The Mouse That Roared". Similarly numerous decoy operations such as moving (a small number of) troops eastwards by day, visible to the enemy, then back west by night, or putting up large numbers of dummy planes and vehicles, made of wood and canvas, in fields where enemy reconnaissance may spot them, are almost as old as warfare itself. See also "Crafty tricks of war", hosted by Dick "Scrapheap Challenge" Strawbridge.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    diesel is not cheaper

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collins-class_submarine_replacement_project

    1. Afernie

      Re: diesel is not cheaper

      I don't think the cost of the propulsion system is the reason for the eye-watering price tag. How the Hell will 12 subs cost $50bn when the Germans were able to knock out the Dolphin Class for the Israelis for $1bn a pop?

      I suspect the gravy train is pulling into the station again.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Buy the German U-boats

    Well, at least they know how to churn them out in times of war. What, too soon?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Buy the German U-boats

      Diesel-electric subs are good to patrol around the coasts - but if you need attack capabilities and recon in the high seas - maybe escorting a carrier battle group - or close to enemy coasts, those aren't the subs your looking for.

      In the ends, depends on what Navy you want. A pure defensive one - or one able to project its force far from mainland. Italy chose the former, for example, - is the brexited UK ready to abdicate fully from its role as a "naval power"?

      Of course, there's no excuse for bad expensive ships, and their maintenance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Buy the German U-boats

        is the brexited UK ready to abdicate fully from its role as a "naval power"?

        It already has. We have no aircraft carriers in service, and won't have any aircraft for some years. We have no ASW aircraft even to protect our own coastline, we've a pitiful number of service vessels, our newest surface and underwater ships are unreliable junk. The surface vessels are under-armed, and the RAF has insufficient force projection to provide much air cover if that were ever needed. Against asymmetric threats (like Iran) we have no effective weapon systems, and we don't have sufficient vessels to put together a battlegroup without using the entire operational strength of the RN.

        1. GingerOne

          Re: Buy the German U-boats

          "Against asymmetric threats (like Iran)"

          LOLS. Iran are no threat, asymmetric or otherwise. You really should stop believing what they tell you and open your eyes to the real world.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Buy the German U-boats

            LOLS. Iran are no threat, asymmetric or otherwise

            No, they just like to make fools of us

            https://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/22/seized_brit_sailors_times_foi_analysis/

            Was it stupid to have small teams with personal weapons only, in unarmed boats, without air support - without useful backup of any kind - under two miles from Iranian territory? Yes, it was. Was it particularly stupid to keep doing this just after a number of Revolutionary Guard operatives in Iraq had been seized by American forces? Yes it was.

            Should heads roll? Absolutely. Will they? No.

            1. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: Buy the German U-boats

              "LOLS. Iran are no threat, asymmetric or otherwise

              No, they just like to make fools of us"

              If you're going to go play in someone else's bathtub far from home, expect to get spanked.

              If they were playing silly buggers in the English Channel, then I'd bet the RN might act the same way to them.

              But since they don't have the force projection outside their bathtub, no they are not a threat as long as you stay out of their bathtub.

      2. Primus Secundus Tertius

        Re: Buy the German U-boats

        @LDS

        One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine. A typo, of course.

        1. Adam Oellermann

          Re: Buy the German U-boats

          "One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine." Incorporating rubber bands for silent running...

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Buy the German U-boats

            "One unfortunate secretary at a place I worked was never allowed to forget her diesel-elastic submarine." Incorporating rubber bands for silent running...

            rubber bands Knicker Elastic, (Shirley's)

        2. Rattus Rattus

          Re: Buy the German U-boats

          @Primus Secundus Tertius

          Now you're just winding us up.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Buy the German U-boats

        "Diesel-electric subs are good to patrol around the coasts"

        which gives them an effective mission close to home.

        They could also be effective as escorts, if it's possible to refuel them from a fast oiler that's part of an operations group. But they'd have to surface periodically in order to do that, which goes against modern submarine operating philosophy.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Buy the German U-boats

          " But they'd have to surface periodically in order to do that,"

          Take a look at what australia's doing with its Barracuda shortfins - conventionally powered versions of the french nuke boats. They can run for months underwater.

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Buy the German U-boats

        Diesel-electric subs are good to patrol around the coasts - but if you need attack capabilities and recon in the high seas - maybe escorting a carrier battle group - or close to enemy coasts, those aren't the subs your looking for.

        Well, if the MoD is planning for no more than three days of action per week then DE subs are sure to be a better choice than ones that can be out under the high seas for weeks on end*.

        "Public announcement to all adversaries, current and future: please contact your assigned MoD representative to obtain an up to date schedule of the offensive and defensive forces you can expect to encounter, so you can plan accordingly. He or she can be reached during UK office hours. Thanks in advance for your cooperation."

        * at least, if they're not in for repairs/retrofit/upgrades/etc. in the first place.

      5. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: Buy the German U-boats

        or one able to project its force far from mainland

        When did UK do that for the last time, without being part of a bigger US operation?

        On the World stage, UK military is an auxiliary force for the US Army, its policy in term of military means is well adapted to that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy the German U-boats

      Oh, the irony: England buying German submarines....

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Buy the German U-boats

      If George Osborne had his way, we'd be buying Chinese.

  8. Andy 97

    I suspect the MOD is trying to get a bigger budget for its UUV programme.

  9. Voland's right hand Silver badge

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

    The BIG "STOP" sign for Argentina somewhere on the way to Port Stanley is not the rather impotent Typhoon wing stationed there (grand total of FOUR, yes FOUR fighters if memory serves me right).

    It is the fact that they know that there is supposed to be at least one attack submarine on station there all the time and it can put a couple of Tomahawks into chosen windows of their Naval Command and President's palace any time the UK prime minister says "do so". They can also sink any ship in a landing task force - Argentinian ASW is nowhere near the level needed to deal with modern subs.

    If the maintenance level on the subs is so low that there is not a single one patrolling there... That changes the equation quite a bit. Thanks god Kirshner is not around any more, their new government is not so saber rattling (at least we hope so).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      The BIG "STOP" sign for Argentina somewhere on the way to Port Stanley is not the rather impotent Typhoon wing stationed there.

      I think the Argentine air force is now so dillapidated that it couldn't put up the aircraft to do anything these days, partly because the government has been less militaristic, but mainly because Argentina is broke. Of course, they might counter that our military is dilapidated and we're broke, and that would be true.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

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

        I think the Argentine air force is now so dillapidated

        Even a dilapidated air force should be able to take out 4 figther jets and a small patrol boat.

        There is not a single proper surface ship in the South Atlantic either.

        This SMELLS of May wanting to follow in the steps of her "guiding light". The difference is, however, that this time the old carriers have been scrapped and there are no aircraft so the gamble is not likely to pay off.

        1. druck Silver badge

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

          Oh here we go again with the worlds top armchair military strategist - Voland, shouldn't you still be apologising and trying to scrub off that brown tidemark half way up Vlad's arm?

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      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.

    3. 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.

  10. 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. LDS Silver badge

      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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 Silver badge

        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.

  14. 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. Esme

        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!

  15. 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!

  16. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    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.

  17. Mike Richards Silver badge

    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?

  18. 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.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The world is much safer then...

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

  20. 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.

  21. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    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

  22. 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 Silver badge

      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.

  23. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. Black Rat
    Pirate

    Enough of this blind man's buff with baseball bats!

    Crank up the active sonar to 11 and let's get the supercavitating sub fighters off the drawingboard and into the water. That'll give everybody something to shkval about.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Attack submarines?

    Ok to non subs but ...from Wikipedia... Maybe they should call them fluffy class submarines. Oh BTW Vietnam just got delivery of their 6th Russian built sub. Uk has such a Napoleon complex.

    1945 February 6- Royal Navy submarine Venturer becomes the only submarine to sink another submarine while they were both submerged when she sinks U-864 off Norway.

  30. x 7

    not the first time this has happened

    around 20-25 years ago, when we had a much larger fleet of around 20 hunter killers, only three were operational: the rest had cracks in the reactor core, which required "interestingly difficult" welding repairs.

    The real issue here is WHY DO WE ONLY HAVE SEVEN SUBS? Allowing for the usual guideline for at any time of a naval fleet, one third is in long-term refit, one third short-term refit/working up, one third available for service, the best we could ever hope for is two in service.Bloody joke

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Battleship inflation

      The Royal Navy had a lot more subs thirty years ago but about half of them were diesel boats built in the 1960s and 1970s. The first nuclear submarines were in the 3000-4000 tonne displacement range, effectively large diesel-style hulls with a nuclear power plant providing steam to conventional turbines or (later) pumpjets for propulsion. They had operational problems including requiring refuelling every ten to fifteen years which necessitated the hull being cut in half to get at the reactor spaces which took them out of action for years at a time.

      The new Astute class boats are 7000 tonnes plus, use electric drive resulting in extraordinarily low levels of noise, carry cruise missiles as well as a massive towed sonar suite, cruise underwater at thirty knots plus, never need refuelling due to improvements in reactor design and they can do all sorts of things the older subs can't. The downside is they're much larger and more expensive to build than their predecessors so we get fewer of them. It's like the old battleships which got bigger and more expensive as time went on but fewer and fewer got built for the same reasons.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Frank N. Stein

    Since The Sun reported this first, El Reg shouldn't fear reprisals from GCHQ, hopefully. Perhaps if your Gov less resources into spying on citizens and more into the purchase of better quality subs, such circumstances would not have occurred?

  33. Tom Paine

    Duff story?

    ...if one believes The Sun [...]

    Well, quite. Who believes The Sun? Run a story when this is confirmed by real journalists.

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