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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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 ;)

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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.

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Britannia, rule the waves!

Make the Royal Navy great again!

etc…

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ALL 15 MILLION BRITISH SUBMARINES RISE UP AND TORPEDO IT!

I dunno - sounds like the circular firing squad scenario.

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Collateral Damage

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

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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?

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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.

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Re: Errata

This.

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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

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

Just sayin', like.

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

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Apparently they are now

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

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

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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).

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Anonymous Coward

The target was in the wrong place.

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"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.

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"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.

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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.

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Anonymous Coward

diesel is not cheaper

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

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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.

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Buy the German U-boats

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

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LDS
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Buy the German U-boats

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

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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...

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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.

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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)

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Mushroom

Re: Buy the German U-boats

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Re: Buy the German U-boats

@Primus Secundus Tertius

Now you're just winding us up.

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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.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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?

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