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Old 10-22-2010, 05:32 AM
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revwardoc revwardoc is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Gardner, MA
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Talking Bit of a sticky wicket!

'World's most advanced' nuke sub runs aground

British vessel is said to be 'virtually undetectable' normally

A British nuclear-powered submarine described as the "world's most advanced" has run aground off the coast of Scotland, witnesses said.

Defense ministry officials confirmed the HMS Astute the Royal Navy's newest and largest attack submarine had been involved in an accident.

Witnesses told the BBC and other media outlets that the vessel could be seen stranded near a road bridge linking the Isle of Skye to the mainland. STV News published a photograph showing the submarine.

In a statement, the defense ministry said the accident was not a nuclear incident and that no injuries had been reported.

Defense officials said the submarine remained watertight and that there was no indication of any environmental problems linked to the incident.

"Astute ran aground by her ... stern earlier this morning as she was transferring people ashore," a Royal Navy spokesman told the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The submarine's skipper, Commander Andy Coles, chose not to force the vessel off the rocks, the Telegraph said, as that might have damaged the hull which the newspaper said was fitted with "some of the most advanced acoustic tiles that make Astute virtually undetectable beneath the seas."

'I am very surprised'
The Telegraph said the $1.88 billion HMS Astute was the "world's most advanced nuclear submarine." Its nuclear reactor will not need refueling during the sub's 35-year life.

The U.K.'s Maritime and Coastguard Agency told BBC News that it was alerted to the incident at about 8:19 a.m. local time (3:19 a.m. ET).

Witness Ross McKerlich told the BBC that the sub, which appeared to be listing to one side, was about a mile from his home.

"When I woke up this morning and looked out my bedroom window I could see the submarine. I am very surprised how far in it has come as there are good navigational buoys there," he said.

Coles, the submarine's commander, told the BBC last month: "We have a brand new method of controlling the submarine, which is by platform management system, rather than the old conventional way of doing everything of using your hands. This is all fly-by-wire technology including only an auto pilot rather than a steering column."

The accident came the day after the U.K.'s Royal Navy celebrated Trafalgar Day, which commemorated the 205th anniversary of Admiral Horatio Nelson's famous victory over a combined French and Spanish fleet.

The Telegraph said tug boats would pull Astute off the rocks when the tide came in later Friday.

It is not known whether the submarine was carrying weapons, but it is capable of holding 38 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes, the Telegraph said.
I'd rather be historically accurate than politically correct.
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