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French sub unaware it rammed Royal Navy vessel in mid-Atlantic nuclear crash
Times Online ^

Posted on 02/16/2009 8:11:43 AM PST by Sub-Driver

French sub unaware it rammed Royal Navy vessel in mid-Atlantic nuclear crash

Charles Bremner in Paris, and David Brown

A French submarine was unaware it had rammed and damaged a British nuclear sub in a mid-Atlantic collision until it was informed by the Royal Navy.

HMS Vanguard and the French submarine Le Triomphant were both carrying nuclear ballistic warheads when they crashed in the Atlantic earlier this month.

Both navies said today that the collision had been unavoidable because the vessels were “running silently” to avoid detection by sonar.

Official inquiries have started in Britain and France into the incident which has raised concerns about the sharing of information between the allied navies.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, said the incident happened at low speed and none of the 250 crew on board the submarines were injured.

“Both submarines remained safe and no injuries occurred,” he said. We can confirm that the capability remained unaffected and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety.”

The French Navy claimed earlier this month that Le Triomphant’s bow sonar dome was probably damaged in a collision with a submerged shipping container while returning from patrol.

It only discovered it had hit British submarine after one of their regular exchanges of information with the Royal Navy.

HMS Vanguard returned its base in Faslane, western Scotland, on Saturday with dents and scrapes on its hull following the collision reported to have occurred on February 3 or 4.

Le Triomphant took three days to limp home to port in Brest, northwest France, with extensive damage to its Thales DMUX 80 sonar.

(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: france; royalnavy; submarines
the odds of this happening..........
1 posted on 02/16/2009 8:11:43 AM PST by Sub-Driver
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To: Sub-Driver
the odds of this happening..........

...must be close to the odds of two 747's colliding on the ground.

2 posted on 02/16/2009 8:15:35 AM PST by SeeSharp
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To: Sub-Driver
French sub unaware it rammed Royal Navy vessel in mid-Atlantic nuclear crash

The captain was a little old lady who spent the entire cruise with her left turn signal on.

3 posted on 02/16/2009 8:18:13 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (This disaster brought to you by the failed Obama administration.)
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To: SeeSharp
the odds of this happening.......... ...must be close to the odds of two 747's colliding on the ground.

More like the odds of two 747's colliding and not knowing it happened.

Pure nonsense.

4 posted on 02/16/2009 8:18:36 AM PST by evad (.!.)
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To: Sub-Driver

Captain Clouseau, “ Did you feel a Boomp” You mean a bump? “Oui a Boomp”


5 posted on 02/16/2009 8:19:13 AM PST by dblshot
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To: Sub-Driver

It tells you there must be finite areas where the missles reach intended tarets and you can hide.


6 posted on 02/16/2009 8:19:22 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Beware Obama's Reichstag fire.)
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To: Sub-Driver

The Captain was probably talking on his cellphone.


7 posted on 02/16/2009 8:21:04 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (Dissent Is Patriotic!)
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To: Slings and Arrows

. . . LOL . . .

and cursing a blue streak about the romance novel she was reading?


8 posted on 02/16/2009 8:24:26 AM PST by Quix (LEADRs SAY FRM 1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Sub-Driver; Allegra; big'ol_freeper; Lil'freeper; TrueKnightGalahad; blackie; Larry Lucido; ...
Re: French sub unaware it rammed Royal Navy vessel in mid-Atlantic nuclear crash...

From this pix:

It looks like the sonar dome... is in the nose.

Gadzooks! Yes, yes, yes, I know it is the French Frigging Navy, but how could they... not know?

Go to http://pagesperso-orange.fr/sous-marin.france/Type%20snle-ng%20triomphant%20color.jpg is red x above

9 posted on 02/16/2009 8:25:01 AM PST by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: reagan_fanatic

searching quietly for underwater truffles?

Trying to find where they’d stashed those cases of rare wine?


10 posted on 02/16/2009 8:25:48 AM PST by Quix (LEADRs SAY FRM 1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Sub-Driver

As we used to say at SUBLANT, “Ah, the old ‘I-must-have-hit-a-submerged-shipping-container’ excuse.”


11 posted on 02/16/2009 8:27:40 AM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since '91.)
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To: MeanWestTexan

I’d hate to have to calculate those odds. Numbers of subs, go and no go areas in the seas, depths (maximum depth unknown) and probably a whole other list of variables i can’t think of.

I do think we can rule out everyplace above sea level.


12 posted on 02/16/2009 8:28:30 AM PST by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
It tells you there must be finite areas where the missles reach intended tarets and you can hide.

Generally, Boomers hide in deployment "boxes" - but those should be large enough to make this kind of a collision a high-odds proposition. More likely the SSBNs for the French and Royal Navies use the same underwater locations for fixing their positions based on geographic landmarks. So in this case the boomers went to those locations to get their fixes ... at the same time.
13 posted on 02/16/2009 8:28:53 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: Sub-Driver

Once upon a time when I was a crewmember of a US Navy destroyer, the only submarine I specifically remember that my ship “sank” in a war game was a French one.


14 posted on 02/16/2009 8:28:55 AM PST by squidly
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To: SeeSharp

So don’t let the Brits and French have subs, and don’t let the Dutch and Americans have 747s. Problem solved.


15 posted on 02/16/2009 8:31:02 AM PST by Trod Upon (The Left killed my country.)
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To: evad; SeeSharp; Sub-Driver
More like the odds of two 747's colliding and not knowing it happened. Pure nonsense.

Read the article. The French were well aware that they had git something. They just didn't know what. The only way that you would know is if you heard it before or after the crash. As its sonar dome was damaged, that leaves only the before part.

A better question would perhaps be to ask how the British knew what they hit, but didn't avoid it.

16 posted on 02/16/2009 8:31:39 AM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: Sub-Driver

Three words.

Hit and run.


17 posted on 02/16/2009 8:34:16 AM PST by RobRoy (Islam is a greater threat to the world today than Nazism was in the 1930's.)
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To: SampleMan

It was the french who did the hitting, not the british.


18 posted on 02/16/2009 8:37:49 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Sub-Driver

Subs play cat and mouse all the time. The surprise here is that two boomers (SSBN) did it. Usually, attack boats (SSN) do it.


19 posted on 02/16/2009 8:39:56 AM PST by pabianice
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To: SeeSharp
Captaine de Vasseau Clouseau had no comment.
20 posted on 02/16/2009 8:40:27 AM PST by GAB-1955 (Kicking and Screaming into the Kingdom of Heaven!)
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To: Quix

You’ve been stuck behind her in (sea) traffic?


21 posted on 02/16/2009 8:41:44 AM PST by Slings and Arrows (This disaster brought to you by the failed Obama administration.)
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To: Sub-Driver

Given that the French didn’t notice..........

There really are no words.


22 posted on 02/16/2009 8:42:50 AM PST by Carley (President Obama ~ Leaving No Tax Cheat Behind)
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To: Slings and Arrows

I think she’s been cloned and spread all around the planet.

Dreadful strategy to gum up civilization! LOL.


23 posted on 02/16/2009 8:43:13 AM PST by Quix (LEADRs SAY FRM 1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Kirkwood
It was the french who did the hitting, not the british.

Same question still applies. How did the British know who the other party was? If they identified the contact before impact, why didn't they avoid the collision? If they identified them after the impact, why didn't they use their underwater communication gear and signal them?

I'm going to infer that the British sub didn't know either, but that the RN and French Navy put two and two together after the subs both made their reports.

24 posted on 02/16/2009 8:45:44 AM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: Sub-Driver
Ok, pretty surprising two boomers collided. Not something that is very likely. That the British figured out what they hit meant they expended effort to figure it out, probably asking us who/what it was.

But what I find most fascinating is the assumption of hitting a submerged shipping container. Makes me seriously wonder how great a risk that is and how often it happens if the French assume that first.

25 posted on 02/16/2009 8:48:00 AM PST by kingu (Party for rent - conservative opinions not required.)
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To: SeeSharp

If all the pilots are blindfolded, and there’s no tower to tell them - it’s more possible than you think!


26 posted on 02/16/2009 8:53:31 AM PST by Ro_Thunder ("Other than ending SLAVERY, FASCISM, NAZISM and COMMUNISM, war has never solved anything")
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To: Sub-Driver

Putting a submarine in the hands of the French is just plain lunacy.


27 posted on 02/16/2009 8:59:14 AM PST by Oldpuppymax (AGENDA OF THE LEFT EXPOSED)
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To: SampleMan

Based on the damage to the bow/ sonar dome and array of the Frech sub, and the lesser hull damage to the Brits, one could reasonably infer the Brits were ‘crossing the T’ of the French boat, from a maneuvering standpoint.

“Acoustic contact close aboard contact, Captain. Range 100m on starboard quarter!”

“Helm, all ahead full. Left full rudder. 20 degrees up on the planes!” Except none of that apparently happened???

Two deaf or inattentive boats.

OK, so since the French did not hear the Brits, one could presume the Brits did not sound a collision alarm, did not ping, did not try to warn away ... i.e., the Brits were unaware of the French boat until it motored away under it own power. Then the Brits figured out they had been in a collision (a) with another sub, and (b) it was the Frenchies. Merde! Or did they?

And for the French. They never figured out they hit a sub. So the Brits never did anything to provide an acoustic signature ... even if the French could ‘hear’ anything. i.e., the Brits continued ‘silent running’ while they performed their damage assessment.

Or maybe everybody knew what actually happened in a game of chicken, and no one wanted to own up to it.

The obvious question is was this really a 1 in a million encounter in the cubic miles of the ocean, or were these two boats messing with each other? Makes no sense for two boomers to do it ...

just pondering


28 posted on 02/16/2009 9:12:01 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: Blueflag

Well you hit it at the end. These were both boomers. And SSBN don’t do anything but avoid contacts.

I’m assuming that the French were the first to report a collision and when the British sub reported a collision the RN picked up the phone to see exactly where that French sub was when it happened, and then they confirmed things with the French.


29 posted on 02/16/2009 9:17:29 AM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: kingu
...But what I find most fascinating is the assumption of hitting a submerged shipping container. Makes me seriously wonder how great a risk that is...

I was thinking the same thing. No way to know these are around without the sub actively pinging with it's sonar and they generally don't want to do that as it reveals their own location.

30 posted on 02/16/2009 9:21:31 AM PST by FReepaholic (Diversity = .45 .357 .223 .38 ...)
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To: SampleMan

True.

I think we can reasonably infer hits was a very low speed collision, otherwise the damage and injuries would have been worse. So the boomers were busy doing what boomers do best — maintaining just enough forward motion to hold steerage while they try to be a silent hole in the background noise of the ocean.


31 posted on 02/16/2009 9:23:43 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: FReepaholic

I’ve read this is an increasing threat to surface and subsurface traffic. Containers fall off of ships for various reasons, and then depending on bouyancy the float on the surface, just below the surface, well below the surface, and slowly descend into the depths. Good reason to be double hulled in the container shipping lanes.

A MAD could locate them, and so can passive SONAR (background noise reflects off the object and is processed as a solid object by the ‘SONAR’ on the sub) but subs don’t use MADs, and ya gotta be good and advanced to employ passive SONAR.


32 posted on 02/16/2009 9:28:29 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: Blueflag

Correction — boomers don’t use MADs


33 posted on 02/16/2009 9:30:06 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: Sub-Driver

I think the captain must have thought he was just scraping off barnacles on the conning tower.


34 posted on 02/16/2009 9:32:58 AM PST by chainsaw
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To: FReepaholic

they generally don’t want to do that as it reveals their own location.

In peace time??? It would make no never mind.


35 posted on 02/16/2009 9:46:31 AM PST by chainsaw
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To: tanknetter
Generally, Boomers hide in deployment "boxes" - but those should be large enough to make this kind of a collision a high-odds proposition. More likely the SSBNs for the French and Royal Navies use the same underwater locations for fixing their positions based on geographic landmarks. So in this case the boomers went to those locations to get their fixes ... at the same time.

It's hard to navigate by landmarks when you're under water. Subs navigate through inertial navigation systems.

36 posted on 02/16/2009 9:49:32 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: tanknetter
“Generally, Boomers hide in deployment “boxes”...”

I am amused you think everyone should understand your military jargon. I am especially amused at your references to “boomers”. You are of course referring to old hippies I presume?

37 posted on 02/16/2009 9:56:57 AM PST by monday
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To: Sub-Driver
French sub unaware it rammed Royal Navy vessel in mid-Atlantic nuclear crash

Hmmm...Sky News stated that the Brit sub hit the French sub........

38 posted on 02/16/2009 10:12:13 AM PST by Sarajevo (You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.)
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To: Sub-Driver
That's the problem with boomers. They are quiet and rely on on passive sonar. I get the feeling neither side heard each other until the sonar operators went deaf from the collision.

Still, the North Sea and Northern Atlantic are quite large.
39 posted on 02/16/2009 10:27:32 AM PST by rmlew
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To: SampleMan
If they identified them after the impact, why didn't they use their underwater communication gear and signal them?

And what? Exchange insurance information?

I'm going to assume nuclear missile boats are under orders to avoid conforming their location to anyone, even allies when at sea. If there were enemy attack boats lurking about and the captain uses the sea phone to contact the froggie, he has just identified his boat and the enemy can now identify by name the boat by its sound profile. If they hear it again, they can know which crew, which captain, etc and make a more educated guess as to how the boat will respond in a given situation.

Operational security trumps all other concerns.
40 posted on 02/16/2009 10:38:53 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg
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To: SampleMan

conforming = confirming


41 posted on 02/16/2009 10:39:27 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg
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To: chainsaw
...In peace time??? It would make no never mind....

I have to think that they wouldn't want anyone knowing where they are at any time because then an enemy could shadow the sub to gather acoustic signature data. Of course I could be wrong.

42 posted on 02/16/2009 11:14:24 AM PST by FReepaholic (Diversity = .45 .357 .223 .38 ...)
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To: Dr.Zoidberg
And what? Exchange insurance information?

Ensure that they didn't require assistance to prevent loss of life. That is the norm when ships collide.

I'm going to assume nuclear missile boats are under orders to avoid conforming their location to anyone, even allies when at sea. If there were enemy attack boats lurking about and the captain uses the sea phone to contact the froggie, he has just identified his boat and the enemy can now identify by name the boat by its sound profile.

And you're assuming that the sound of two large vessels colliding went unnoticed. If an enemy SSN was in the area he heard the collision and had the position. If he couldn't hear anything accept for the underwater phone, then he still wouldn't have anything would he?

Operational security trumps all other concerns.

Actually, it usually doesn't during peace time. Its not like the Captain was having to "give up the ship". He would have at most given away a position that was already compromised by the collision.

43 posted on 02/16/2009 11:34:52 AM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: SampleMan
Ensure that they didn't require assistance to prevent loss of life. That is the norm when ships collide.

Nuclear submarines aren't normal surface ships.

The captain certainly had his sonar techs scanning to identify damage like flooding compartments, a ballast purge should the ship need to emergency surface, etc. If the froggie didn't sound like it was in danger, what good would come of a "Hey buddy, you alright? When he could already tell?

And you're assuming that the sound of two large vessels colliding went unnoticed.

Not at all. I'm assuming it WAS heard and would have drawn attention. Then as I mentioned before, if the captain indentified himself and his boat, then he has just told the third boat who he is, who the ship is and put a confirmed name to the sound profile the enemy boat would be generating.

Actually, it usually doesn't during peace time. Its not like the Captain was having to "give up the ship".

In fact that's exactly what he would be doing. Not in the manner of a surrender, but by giving a tangible advantage to anyone who is listening.

In the end, it all comes down to what orders he was under. If he is told to maintain silence, he maintains silence or he finds himself cashiered out of the service with dishonor.
44 posted on 02/16/2009 11:53:22 AM PST by Dr.Zoidberg
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To: Dr.Zoidberg
You've been watching too many movies.

One of us was qualified to deliver nukes, and I'm thinking it wasn't you.

if the captain indentified himself and his boat, then he has just told the third boat who he is, who the ship is and put a confirmed name to the sound profile the enemy boat would be generating.

The Russian SSN that waits just off shore in international waters to pick up the SSBN as it comes out already has that opportunity.

During peace time, no ship commander is going to have a collision with another friendly ship and knowingly leave the scene.

45 posted on 02/16/2009 12:18:48 PM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: SampleMan
Actually, no I don't watch many movies. I do read a fair amount though.

One of us was qualified to deliver nukes, and I'm thinking it wasn't you.

Good for you. Did they also offer classes in being a prick or is that natural talent?

If I'm wrong, that's fine with me. Won't be the first time or the last I'm sure.
46 posted on 02/16/2009 12:26:45 PM PST by Dr.Zoidberg
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To: Dr.Zoidberg
Which of the two do you think would do more harm to the UK's national interests:

1. Having a Russian SSN trail one of their SSBNs during normal ops.

2. Leaving a U.S. or French submarine crew to die after fleeing the scene of an accidental collision?

I'm going with #2, and sticking with the assumption that the British were just as clueless as the French as to what the other party in their collision was.

Good for you. Did they also offer classes in being a prick or is that natural talent?

To be consistent, I'll stick with the second choice on that one too. I apologize, I've been doing fairly well on keeping it under wraps lately, and I broke one of my own rules in throwing the background info out as an Ace. It is not uncommon that a well read, intelligent individual has a better grasp on things than someone that has more experience, but less knowledge.

47 posted on 02/16/2009 1:03:37 PM PST by SampleMan (I'm not drinking the kool aid! Is it 2013 yet?)
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To: Quix

Looking for a sunken oldsmobile..............


48 posted on 02/16/2009 2:16:17 PM PST by festus (Politics makes for strange bedfellows)
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To: festus

One might need to look at the end of some long pier’s.

Or along some piers with highways running alongside them! LOL.


49 posted on 02/16/2009 4:40:35 PM PST by Quix (POL BOSSES say fm1900 2 presnt: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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