Collision: Submarines Behave Like Satellites

by OldSailor on February 18, 2009

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On February 10, unprecedented collision took place in space between Russian Cosmos 2251 satellite and U.S Iridium satellite over Siberia at an altitude of 490 miles (790 km). british_french_submarine_collissionReason for collision of intact space crafts is under investigation.

Now British and French nuclear submarines have proved that collision can take place underwater also. It seems in underwater, submarines prefer to navigate by closing eyes and keeping ears open.

News reports worldwide say that British submarine HMS Vanguard and French submarine Le Triomphant have collided in the Atlantic Ocean on February 04. The collision has caused minor damage to the vessels without any radioactive leaks underwater.

In response to this, the statement from the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band available from the Royal Navy News on February 16 is here:

Two submerged SSBN, one French and the other UK, were conducting routine national patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, the two submarines came into contact at very low speed. Both submarines remained safe and no injuries occurred. We can confirm that the capability remained unaffected and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety. HMS Vanguard returned safely to Faslane under her own power on 14 February.

The reasons for submarine collision:

  • the submarines of U.K and France do not have designated sea lanes underwater
  • both the submarines were in passive listening (sonar) mode
  • both the submarines have high stealth characteristics
  • both the submarines were unlucky to be at same depth and location

As per France 24 news report,

  • On February 06, France’s defence ministry has said that submarine Le Triomphant was damaged after hitting an underwater object, possibly a sinking cargo container. The submarine returned to base at Ile-Longue, near Brest in northwest France.
  • On February 16, the French Navy confirmed a British submarine was involved in collision.

Some interesting features of HMS Vanguard and French submarine Le Triomphant are:vanguard_class_submarines

  • HMS Vanguard (image from the Royal Navy)
    • The four Vanguard Class SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) submarines provide strategic nuclear deterrent.
    • Launched in 1992 and one out of the four submarines always remain on deterrent patrol.
    • Read more about Vanguard Class SSBN from the Royal Navy.
  • French submarine Le Triomphant (SSBN – image from the French Navy)
    • Entered active service in 1997 and has enhanced acoustic stealth performance. french_ssbn_submarine
    • At sea, the SSBN is an entirely autonomous strategic base, untraceable throughout its patrol.
    • Read more about French submarine forces (FOST, Strategic Oceanic Force) from French Marine.

View an interesting video clip on submarine collision from Sky News.

View an interesting video clip on satellite collision in space from Russia Today.

Read “Q&A: Submarine collision” from BBC News.

Read more and view an interesting video clip of submarine collision from France 24 International News.

Posts in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:

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