Daily Archives: February 20, 2013

HMS Tireless returns to Plymouth after reactor leak

HMS Tireless

HMS Tireless will undergo repairs in Plymouth

 

The Devon-based submarine HMS Tireless has returned to Plymouth after a leak in its nuclear reactor.

The Royal Navy said the small leak of coolant was contained within the reactor compartment of the Trafalgar-class hunter-killer vessel.

The navy said that the incident “posed no risk to the public, the environment or the crew”.

It added it was not yet known how long the repairs to the 28-year-old vessel would take.

Analysis

Scott Bingham Business reporter, BBC Spotlight


While HMS Tireless has had its fair share of problems, the Royal Navy has been able to keep the boat in sufficient shape to remain part of the UK’s armed forces for nearly 30 years.

The vessel is expected to be decommissioned this year.

The navy openly admits that it and four sister vessels still in service were “designed as Cold War warriors” and are now having to adapt to the demands of the 21st Century.

Any problem with any vessel’s nuclear systems must be treated very seriously, but those systems are completely contained in a sealed compartment.

There are also safety procedures in place to prevent radioactivity from leaking out of the vessel.

This, coupled with the fact the submarine has always come back to its base in a city populated by 250,000 people, shows the service is confident such situations can be kept safely under control.

It is the latest in a series of incidents that have affected the submarine.

In 2007, two mechanics died on board when a self-contained oxygen generator exploded while the vessel was under the North Pole.

The vessel was sailing under an ice pack 170 miles (275km) north of Deadhorse, in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, when the accident happened.

In 2000, a fault was discovered on board which then forced 12 hunter-killer nuclear submarines in the UK’s fleet to undergo intensive inspections.

The submarine became stranded in Gibraltar in May of the same year with a leak in pipe work leading from the nuclear reactor system.

It was there for nearly a year while repairs were carried out, putting a strain on relations with Spain, and drawing criticism from environmentalists.

In May 2003, it was taken to Scotland for repairs prompting a Ministry of Defence inquiry after it collided with an object at sea.

Source – BBC News

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Navy to Congress: No budget, no second submarine in 2014

USS Providence (SSN – 719)

Service releases plan in face of looming, automatic budget cuts.

If Congress doesn’t pass a budget this fiscal year, the Navy said it likely would not purchase a second Virginia-class submarine in 2014.

The Navy released its latest plan to Congress on Tuesday for how it will be affected if the government keeps operating on a continuing resolution that funds spending at last year’s levels, and if Congress does not act before March 1 to prevent the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

The continuing resolution expires March 27, and Congress could extend it for the rest of the fiscal year.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the House Armed Services Committee created and passed a plan that authorized two submarines in 2014.

“Now it is incumbent on congressional appropriators to work with us to get the rest of the way there,” he said. “The House’s plate is full and time is running out to act. That is why last week I voted against Speaker Boehner’s motion to adjourn, shutting down the House for 10 days that would be better used tackling these issues, supporting our critical defense priorities, and protecting our economy.”

The Navy told Congress last month it would cancel a $45 million repair job on the USS Providence (SSN 719) at Electric Boat and two demolition projects involving three older buildings at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton unless Congress agreed on a new budget. And if sequestration occurs, the Navy said, it would delay repairs to the Groton-based USS Miami and cancel several ship deployments.

At that time, the Navy did not say the second submarine in 2014 was in jeopardy. A Navy spokeswoman said Tuesday’s update provides a higher level of detail.

EB in Groton and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia jointly build two attack submarines per year. The plans for two submarines in 2013 are not expected to change.

Source – The Day

S-1000 submarine – joint Russian-Italian development

S-1000

Russia and Italy are resuming their joint development S-1000 submarine, which is an export version of the Amur class submarine. The joint development is between Rubin Design Bureau of Russia and Fincantieri of Italy.

Although the main global producers of submarines such as Germany, France and Russia continue to receive stable revenues by exporting their submarines, the development of modern models is becoming more sophisticated. This often requires cooperation with other countries. Cooperation also enables the partners to make development and production less expensive. In conditions where more and more countries are planning to create or upgrade their own submarine fleet the Russian-Italian project on building the S-1000 submarine promises to become a profitable enterprise for both countries.

The idea of creating a joint Russian-Italian submarine emerged in the late 1990-s. The actual development of the 1000-tons heavy submarine began in 2004. In 2008, the work was interrupted because of the global economic crisis. However, today the situation looks more optimistic with the growing demand for submarines in the Asian-Pacific region.

The new submarine can interest any country that is looking for less expensive solutions. S-1000 is a quite universal submarine. It is designed for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, reconnaissance missions, and the transportation of up to 12 troops. The submarine is equipped with a new fuel cell-powered Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system developed in Italy. The price of the future S-1000 is not unveiled but industry experts say that it won’t exceed $120 million-150 million per unit. This price even together with the costs of maintenance and crew training makes the submarine affordable even for relatively poor countries.

Taking into account the current state of the joint project the production of S-1000 can start already in 2-3 years. Moreover in terms of price this project has almost no competitors.

Cooperating with Italy on S-1000 Russia will also continue working on other Amur-class submarines for example Amur-950. This is a more expensive submarine which also features an impressive array of weaponry including missiles. It is known that Russia’s Defense Ministry is planning to resume the serial construction of 677 submarines for the national Navy. These submarines are equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system. The export version of 677 is known as Amur-1650. China and Indonesia are showing interest in buying these submarines.

Source – The Voice of Russia