UK, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic news
16 February 2009

A British and a French nuclear submarine were damaged in a collision deep below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, according to the UK ministry of defence (MoD). The Royal Navy's Trident class HMS Vanguard and the French Le Triomphant, both of them said to be armed with nuclear missiles, are believed to have crashed while submerged on 3 or 4 February, according to reports.

The two submarines were carrying a total of around 250 sailors on board. UK MoD sources said the two submarines collided in what was an extraordinary accident. The accident raises questions about the efficacy of modern sonar and radar systems.

MoD sources said the Vanguard had returned to its home base in Faslane, Scotland, with only "scrapes". Other sources said there were visible dents on her hull as she was towed home last night.

A MoD spokesman stressed that "…UK's deterrent capability has remained unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety."

The Vanguard is one of Britain's four V-class submarines that make up the Trident nuclear deterrent.

As for the French sub, the Triomphant's sonar dome was reported to be extensively damaged. She is reported to have returned to her home base of Brest. 

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UK, French nuclear subs collide in Atlantic