Posts Tagged ‘Vanguard’

HMS Vanguard vs Le Triomphant

HMS Vanguard

Originally uploaded by forargyll

Earlier this month – and first reported this morning (since both sub’s are now back at base) – the British and French SSBN’s on deterrent patrol collided with each other.

Unlike the larger US SSBN fleet – the UK and France each have a small SSBN fleet, such that usually only ONE boat is at sea at a time.

The SSBN fleet are the only strategic nuclear force that either country still maintains. The French decommissioned their land based missiles (S-3’s) in 1996, and the British bomber force lost their nuclear role in 1970 (when the first British Polaris SSBN was commissioned).

Besides the general uproar when something happens to a nuclear asset – what else does this event tell us?

– The British and French SSBN’s have overlapping area’s of operation

Beyond that – everything else is a guess – and will probably never be known publically;

– Were both submarines trying to avoid detection by a 3rd submarine or other ship?
– Was either submarine trying to ‘hide’ behind the other?
– Was either submarine able to detect the other?
– Did they forget that they drive on different sides of the road?


Trident – last of the UK deterrent force?


Originally uploaded by Frank Bennett.

In the next 10-15 years – the Trident D-5 SLBM deterrent force for both the US (Ohio-class) and the UK (Vanguard-class) will be approaching the end of their service lives.

In the UK, the government got approval from the House of Commons in March of 2007 to spend between 15 and 20 billion Pounds on a new class of submarines to continue to maintain a submarine launched deterrence.

Even though this program was approved, some former senior British military officers have recently come out and said the Trident replacement is ‘irrelevant’ and would prefer to see the money spent on conventional forces (which are more useful in today’s War on Terrorism).

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Control Alt Armagedon?


Originally uploaded by Frank Bennett.

When I saw this article – Royal Navy goes with “Windows for Subs” – I got goosebumps.

Bucking the open-source trend, the British Royal Navy has developed a modified version of Microsoft Windows XP and has begun installing it on its fleet of nuclear submarines.

According to the BAE (lead integrator) news release – the new Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG) “transfers the software applications proven on earlier variants of SMCS to a modern system architecture that uses mainstream PCs to provide the computer processing with Microsoft Windows as the software operating system.”

So at this point – all of the RN’s nuclear submarines have been upgraded with these new control stations. Including – the 4 Vanguard class SSBN’s.

Nuclear Weapons – Trident SLBM’s – controlled through Windows.

Maybe Apple should make a Mac commerical based on Windows doing this. Or else another way for Microsoft to push Vista?