November 17, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
The Guardian newspaper is reporting that the Royal Navy’s new multibillion pound hunter-killer submarine, HMS Astute, has been beset by design and construction flaws that have raised doubts about its performance and potential safety. The newspaper revealed that Astute, the first of seven new submarines, has been unable to reach its intended top speed.
It would also be incapable of keeping pace with the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, which will be able to travel at more than 30 knots and need the submarines to protect them. One source told the Guardian the boat had a “V8 engine with a Morris Minor gearbox”.
More from the Guardian’s report:
Other problems that have affected the boat in recent months include:
• Flooding during a routine dive that led to Astute performing an emergency surfacing.
• Corrosion even though the boat is essentially new.
• The replacement or moving of computer circuit boards because they did not meet safety standards.
• Concern over the instruments monitoring the nuclear reactor because the wrong type of lead was used.
• Questions being raised about the quality and installation of other pieces of equipment.
The MoD confirmed Astute had suffered some “teething problems” during sea trials. “It is normal for first of class trials to identify areas where modifications are required and these are then incorporated into later vessels of the class,” a spokesman said.