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British Nuclear Submarine HMS Vanguard Suffers “Embarrassing” Incident

A British nuclear submarine, HMS Vanguard, experienced an "embarrassing" incident when a 58-ton Trident II nuclear missile belonging to it "fell" into the sea shortly after being launched from the submarine.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA)– A British nuclear submarine, HMS Vanguard, experienced an “embarrassing” incident when a 58-ton Trident II nuclear missile belonging to it “fell” into the sea shortly after being launched from the submarine.

The “embarrassing” incident occurred in the presence of the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, and the country’s Naval Chief, Admiral Ben Key, who were on the submarine to witness the launch of the nuclear missile.

Also present on the submarine was the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, alongside senior US defense officials.

Shapps confirmed the “embarrassing” event in a statement to Parliament two days after the incident was widely reported by the British media.

The incident, considered “concerning” by the British media, took place in the waters of Florida last month, following the submarine’s completion of a seven-year maintenance period.

SSBN
“Trident”

 

What is more troubling for national defense observers is that this is the second consecutive failure of a nuclear missile launch experienced by the submarine.

 During a Trident nuclear missile test launch in 2016, a Trident nuclear missile launched by the submarine HMS Vengeance “veered off” its intended path and had to be destroyed shortly thereafter.

According to the media, the Trident II nuclear missile was launched, but the first stage booster of the missile failed to function, causing it to “fall” into the waters not far from the submarine HMS Vanguard that launched it.

The Trident II missile was supposed to travel a distance of 3,500 Nautical Miles (6,500km) and “land” in the Atlantic Ocean between the western part of Africa and Brazil but ultimately ended up landing near the submarine.

The UK Secretary of State for Defence stated that the “embarrassing” incident was an “anomaly” and does not affect the readiness of other naval Trident nuclear missiles or those in storage.

The “embarrassing” incident involving the HMS Vanguard nuclear submarine, he said, does not adversely affect the country’s naval capability to launch nuclear missiles.

Vanguard
HMS Vanguard

 

The British government, he noted, has full confidence in the British Naval deterrent power.

The nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard is one of four British nuclear submarines equipped with Trident nuclear missiles capable of hitting targets up to 4,000 Nautical Miles or about 7,500km away.

The HMS Vanguard submarine, with a total weight of 15,900 tons, is reported to be capable of carrying up to 48 Trident missiles.

The aging submarine is scheduled to be replaced starting in 2030 with four new Dreadnought-class nuclear submarines currently under construction by BAE Systems at its shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. – DSA

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