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Subject: Nuclear subs 'collide in ocean'

Written By: Philip Eno on 02/16/09 at 4:30 am

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision with a French nuclear submarine in the middle of the Atlantic, it has been reported.

The crash between HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant is said to have occurred earlier this month.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt said despite being equipped with sonar, it seems neither vessel spotted the other.

The UK's Ministry of Defence is not commenting on the reports, but insisted nuclear security had not been breached.



Subject: Re: Nuclear subs 'collide in ocean'

Written By: LyricBoy on 02/16/09 at 6:06 pm

I imagine somebody's career ends here...  :-X

Subject: Re: Nuclear subs 'collide in ocean'

Written By: Mushroom on 02/16/09 at 11:14 pm

I am not surprised that something like this has happened.  It is far from the first time this has happened.  And it will not be the last.

The Nukes (Nucllear Submarines) of the world are all designed to be the ultimate in quiet.  In fact, most ships try to find submarines not by listening for the subs themselves, but by listening for the "shadow", where the ambient background noises are blocked by the sub.

The US is among the best, often described by the Russians as being "black holes".  And the Brits and Russians are only a step behind.

Submarines (like most ships) do not operate under "active" sonar, but by "passive" sonar.  Instead of "pinging" to listen for the sound reflections, they instead try to detect the other vessel from the ambient sound it emits.  And when 2 subs are moving in close quarters, unless they already know the location of the other, it is almost impossible for one to detect the other.  This is why the "wolf pack" technique of WWII is no longer done.  All subs work independently.

Of course, there are unconfirmed reports of Soviet and US subs (and subs and other vessils) colliding during the cold war.  One "almost famous but never confirmed" involves a US aircraft carrier and a Soviet Victor class sub.  Another involved a Victor class sub and a US Los Angeles class sub.  And in 1963 a Soviet Hotel class sub hit a Finnish merchant vessel.

In all but one of these incidents, both vessels has sonar.  And in the one, the sub of course had sonar.  But it did nothing to prevent the collision.

And the hysteria of the power plants "leaking" is just a bunch of unknowledgeable people spouting from their anus. 

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