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... approfondisco la replica In defence of HMS Astute: the commanding officer's statement

 

I am the commanding officer of HMS Astute, a career submariner with global operational experience in SSNs [nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarines] and two years' previous command experience in HMS Victorious. Prior to joining the RN I was a skilled mechanical engineer who represented the UK in an international competition. As such I consider myself well placed to comment on the performance and potential of the Astute class and in particular of course, my own submarine.

HMS Astute is a major step forward in underwater warfare capability and is the most significant single advance in RN submarine technology since the introduction of the nuclear submarine in the 1960s. A nuclear submarine is as complex, if not more so, than the space shuttle and to think that any company or country could build one as advanced as the Astute without there being a natural period of proving and refinement shows a lack of understanding of what is expected from first of a class trials.

HMS Astute is a truly awesome submarine with a world-beating potential; her ship's company is second to none and that combination will allow me to take her from the 90% solution we have now to a fully operational platform in relatively short order.

I have seen the boat outperform anything I have served on in the past and I have yet to operate her in all the submarine war fighting arenas. There are still challenges to overcome but these are not safety related or I would not be at sea with her right now.

RN submariners are a highly professional body of men and, as a submarine captain, I consider myself to be among the best of that body but even I could not inspire 130 men to come to sea with me if they too did not believe in the capability, potential and ultimately the safety of this fantastic submarine.

 

 

... il memo della difesa dello scorso giugno Ministry of Defence memo on submarines – full text

 

The Ministry of Defence memo

 

Ref 1. BAE Systems Astute Class project. Corrosion review (Draft) July

 

2011 (Ref DMS) by (redacted)

 

Ref 2. BAE Systems Astute Class project. Phase 2 Corrosion Report January 2012 (Interim) (Ref DMS 1720308) by (redacted)

 

The above mentioned Ref 1 & 2 have been raised over corrosion concerns on valves and pipe work fittings mainly due to the lack of or inadequate paint application for the protection of fasteners and flanges. From the photographs that the NAG-MT has witnessed, the corrosion is widespread and a cause for major concern.

 

Ref 3. BAE Systems Astute Class project. Ambush Design: AMBUSH Design Change to Ship & Battery Ventilation System Pipework Safety Justification. Reference: eDMS Iss 2 1724425 May 2012 by (redacted)

 

This report is on the paint flaking from the bore surface of the ship and battery system vent pipes passing through the reactor compartment of AMBUSH due to inadequate surface preparation.

 

Ref. 4. E-mail from (redacted) to (redacted) forwarding an e-mail from BAe Systems- on an assessment of the cost benefit of changing the bilge fasteners from Mild Steel to Stainless.

 

(Redacted) team have perused the reports, met up with some of the Astute project staff and then with the BAE systems staff (Manager and a staff member of Metallic Materials and Manager – Non metallic Materials) to discuss the reports and find out more on the history and causes of events leading to such corrosion. I am writing this due to the concerns of the QA failures, general attitude towards QA and the lack of understanding and negligence towards the corrosion related issues.

 

Discussion of References 1 and 2.

 

Reference 2, reports that the Inspection of corrosion was carried out by a team which included Astute project (MOD) QA staff but no MoD staff with corrosion and metallurgical knowledge was in the team. The report states that in all the designated wet areas (defined in the Paint Schedule ACP/00009247) paint had either not been applied to flanges and fasteners or inadequately for no doubt various reasons. Also the team had observed that under the casing, paint had either not been applied to fixtures, flanges and fasteners or inadequately for no doubt various reasons. Has the Astute project team found out what these various reasons are? No effort has been made or there is no recommendation to find out how this Quality Assurance failure had occurred, who was responsible for such quality failure and more importantly how to avoid such QA failures in the future. DESNAG-MT finds that this is a very poor attitude to handle such an important issue and advise Astute project to carry out a proper QA investigation to find out answers.

Also the report also states that the current Paint Schedule is a development from various MoD documents but it was unclear who owned it and the report itself questioned whether the technical content was adequate to prevent a repeat of Astute's corrosion issues. I have not been provided with the Paints Schedule but have obtained another document WS 450875 Rev 6 dated 15.07.2010 (issue date 16.08.2000) entitled "Preparation , Application & Inspection of Paintwork". The Section 14 of this document lists "Items not to be painted", a lengthy list which contains items that are should have been painted. Proper advice on various materials to reduce corrosion is given in Defence Standards and clearly this is a case that such advice has been ignored.

On querying, it has come to knowledge that the BAES Materials group has not been a party in making the document WS 450875. It was also found that the submarines have been designated as being DRY, but from the inspections it is clearly apparent that this was not the case. The BAE Systems Materials Group also certainly had concerns on this list and agreed with us that corrosion prone items should not have been included in this list. They are preparing a Laboratory report and a draft (Lab report XXXX) was provided to (redacted). This draft report also clearly outlines the failures of the WS 450875 document in relation to the decision not to apply paint on certain components, going against the advice provided in Defence Standards. This raises the question of how these documents and procedures have been produced by the BAE Systems for Astute. Has the objective been the prevention of corrosion in submarine components or was it just a cost cutting exercise? It seems a decision has been taken to keep the painting to a minimum in Astute class build to reduce costs.

During the discussions with the Astute staff, initially NAG-MT was informed that most of the corroded fasteners would be replaced by a good selection of materials. I was happy with the decision but later on the decision has been reversed and was informed that the corroded areas would be cleaned and painted. Our advice was completely ignored in the name of meeting the schedule. The cleaning of corroded areas in flanges, fasteners and other fixtures would be a difficult task. It has to be accepted that the rust effected areas will not be 100% removed and therefore, the painting will occur on partly cleaned surfaces. This will result in corrosion spreading under the paint with time and lifting off the paint at certain areas leading to further expansion of corrosion. It could be categorically stated that corrosion life of these components has been compromised and further corrosion problems could be expected before the planned maintenance period.

 

Discussion of Reference 3.

 

The Reference 3 states "During a recent and late stage in the Boat 2 build programme, Quality Control Non-Conformances were raised, reporting that the paint scheme applied to the internal surfaces of the Ship and Battery Ventilation System pipework running through the Reactor Compartment (RC) was spalling (de-laminating). The paint is intended to provide protection of the mild steel pipework from corrosion. The root cause of the problem has been ascribed to inadequate pipework surface preparation prior to paint application.". The purpose of this document was to provide a safety justification but there has not been any effort taken to find out the reasons for this failure. This is clearly a Quality Assurance failure. It is important that the MoD/Astute project finds out who was responsible for such a quality failure and more importantly how to avoid such QA failures in the future.

The recommendation made by the investigating panel seems to be the removal of all the paints and leaving the tubes unpainted. It was suggested that whilst it may be possible to completely remove the existing paint, it was generally considered that establishing a suitable preparation for repainting will not be practical within the available timescale. In-situ cleaning to remove all paint in this application is a difficult task and therefore I have agreed with the recommendations but have raised concern mainly of the suggested paint removal process which would leave a surface roughness of troughs up to 2.9mm. This would most certainly lead to future deterioration through pitting corrosion.

 

Discussion on Reference 4

 

It was noted that only the cost benefit has been discussed. No staff from the BAE Systems Materials Group was involved to take a decision on whether stainless or mild steel fasteners should be used.

 

General:

It seems that the first three Astute Class Boats would have the same problems and therefore, the Submarine In-Service team could expect sever problems in the future. These failures show a lack of giving prominence to the materials and corrosion issues and taking decisions mainly with the objective of reducing costs. The MoD even after the re-organisation with the formation of DE&S seems to be concentrating on the procurement costs without consideration to through-life costs.

There seems to be a severe lack of quality control and quality assurance. In perusing these reports one gets the view that quality control has not given due prominence. All the corrosion issues raised in Ref 1-3 have been due to the lack of quality control yet the investigators in Ref 1 and 2 have put them aside as "for no doubt various reasons". I do not think that it is the appropriate way a corporate body should address quality control issues? I would advise Astute project to make a thorough investigation and obtain an understanding of why and how such failures occurred? Most importantly, quality control should be strengthened to avoid such corrosion failures in boat 4 or 5 onwards. I am not too sure whether it is already too late for the Boat 4.

The project is in a hurry to stick to the schedule get the boat finished and. I do understand cost implications due to any delays but finishing a submarine, which would be corroding inside will cost the MoD through out its life!

It is important that for the future, MoD Projects place proper procedures in order to take sound decisions with suitable justification.

Correct professionals should be involved in decision making. I also suggest that Astute project team should not rely only on the paints systems for corrosion protection but also use better corrosion resistant materials to reduce corrosion. The BAES Materials Group informed me that they are working on new materials and coatings. The Defence Standards on fasteners etc have been reviewed recently and we have included some good guidance. I suggest that the Astute Project team should advise the BAE Engineering team to get together with the BAE Materials team and come up with a strategy for corrosion resistance for Boat 4 or 5 onwards, based on both the selection of materials and application of paint. Would be happy to guide, if required.

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Babcock to Develop Tactical Weapons Handling and Launch for UK’s Future Nuclear Deterrent Submarine

 

Babcock has been awarded a contract for the system definition (SD) of the tactical weapons handling and launch system (WHLS) and submerged signal ejector (SSE) for the UK’s future strategic nuclear deterrent, the Vanguard replacement submarine.

 

Babcock has been working on the WHLS and SSE system concepts for some four years. In delivering the SD contract the company will be providing a solution to the technical requirement that combines proven technologies with a number of innovative features, and will build on previous experience including the Astute programme and feedback from its in-service support role, to deliver this programme to cost, quality and schedule.

 

While building on its previous WHLS and SSE products for aspects such as weapon alignment and shock mounting and the air turbine pump (ATP) and firing air system, Babcock will be incorporating new features such as vertical embarkation, modular torpedo launch tubes and stowages (to provide a pre-assembled solution that can accelerate installation times during build and reduce overall assembly costs), and a weapon loading mechanism that allows weapons to be loaded from both tiers using the same mechanism. Further developments include an improved launch control system which will provide a flexible, future-proof system, for example. Where new designs and technologies are being introduced, Babcock plans to reduce risk through prototype testing, additional modelling and analysis.

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Astrium to provide military X-band satcoms to six UK Royal Navy vessels

 

• UK Ministry of Defence contracts Astrium Services to enhance six Royal Navy vessels with military X-band satellite communications via the Skynet 5 constellation

 

• Contract will utilise Astrium Services’ SCOTPatrol, the company’s next generation, lightweight, small naval satellite communications terminal

 

• A further six vessels will also be made capable of receiving the same capability as necessary

 

• Astrium Services is the world’s number one private-sector MilSatCom service supplier and provider of telecommunications services to the most modern armed forces around the world

 

27 November 2012 – Astrium has received an order to fit six UK Royal Navy mine countermeasure vessels with a military X-band satellite communications capability via the Skynet 5 constellation. This will be achieved by fitting Astrium Services’ latest milspec maritime satellite terminals. Known as Deployable Maritime Milsat (DMM), this project will allow vessels that were previously unable to use X-band satcom to take advantage of the extra protection and assurance that is provided by the Skynet 5 system. A further six vessels will be made ready to receive the same terminals at short notice should their future role require it.

To be delivered over five years, this programme will fit selected Royal Navy Mine Counter Measures Vessels with all of the satellite terminals and baseband equipment to allow them to fully integrate into Future Force Structure 2020. The satellite terminal that has been selected for this important programme is Astrium Services’ SCOTPatrol 0.8 metre terminal, which draws on the heritage of the highly successful SCOT 5 terminals that are fitted to the Royal Navy’s larger warships. This next generation naval satellite communications terminal is lighter and requires less maintenance, making it ideal for smaller ships. The terminal will be integrated with the Astrium Services Skynet 5 Satellite Ground Terminal architecture and will take advantage of a new IP based Global Interconnect Network that Astrium Services are rolling out.

Simon Kershaw, Executive Director Government Communications at Astrium Services said: “It is important that our Armed Forces have the most advanced capabilities possible and we are very pleased to be able to deliver this programme. It will enable these vessels to play a full part in future operations. This programme is the result of an excellent joint working initiative that has seen Astrium Services working closely with the Royal Navy to design, test and deliver this important capability in a very short time frame. It is an example of how close working relationships can develop and deliver the goods in a long term stable contract. The Skynet 5 programme is now ten years in and has become an example of how industry can work with the MOD in a service delivery programme.”

As the world’s first commercial provider of military communications services, Astrium Services already enables governments and the military to procure secure communications as and when required, primarily to the UK Ministry of Defence under the Skynet 5 contract, signed in October 2003. Skynet 5 provides the UK Armed Forces with satellite communications worldwide. The contract runs until 2022.

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£1.2 billion contract awarded for new attack submarine

 

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £1.2 billion contract for Audacious, the latest Astute Class attack submarine to be built for the Royal Navy.

Audacious is the fourth of 7 Astute Class submarines being built for the Royal Navy. They are the most technologically-advanced the Royal Navy has ever sent to sea and offer a step-change in capability.

The contract with BAE Systems will safeguard 3,000 skilled jobs at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and represents a significant step forward in the Astute submarine programme.

The first 2 boats, Astute and Ambush, are currently undergoing sea trials to rigorously test their systems. Astute has conducted deep dive trials and successfully fired Tomahawk land attack missiles and Spearfish torpedoes.

Ambush's ability to dive and surface has been successfully tested, as has her propulsion system, and the third boat, Artful, is reaching the final stages of her construction at Barrow shipyard.

The MOD can also confirm today that a further £1.5 billion has been committed to the remaining 3 submarines in the class. This has enabled early build work to start on the next boat (Anson) and long lead items to be ordered and bought for the as yet unnamed boats six and seven.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

 

"This £1.2 billion contract marks an important step forward in the progress of the Astute programme and moves the Royal Navy closer to adding more of these highly advanced and powerful attack submarines to its fleet.

"I am also pleased to announce today that the MOD is committing more than £1.5 billion for boats five, six and seven.

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Commercial sale of Type 22 Frigates

 

It is the Disposal Services Authority (DSA) intention to invite expressions of interest in tendering for the Type 22 Frigates (HMS Chatham, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Cumberland and HMS Cornwall) for the following:

 

- Further Use

- Sinking for an Artificial reef

- Recycling

 

At this stage the DSA does not require interested parties to specify which Vessel/s they wish to bid for.

It is the DSA intention to award at least one vessel to a UK Ship Recycler; this is in part to secure detailed knowledge of the UK’s capacity to recycle vessels. Any decision to award to a UK Ship Recycling company will be made in accordance with transparent and objective evaluation criteria which will be issued at the Invitation to Tender stage.

All interested parties should note that only Bidders that have completed and passed a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) will be sent an Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the vessels and allowed access to view the vessel.

The vessels are moored at Portsmouth and will be sold from there.

The DSA are planning on hosting viewings 25th February - 15th March 2013. Monday - Friday.

As previously requested all bidders intending to undertake inspection of the vessels will be required to wear the correct PPE clothing i.e. steel toecap boots, high vis jackets (overalls optional). Please be assured that if you do not have steel toecap boots on arrival you will be refused access to the vessels.

Only Bidders that have received a copy of the ITT will be allowed access to inspect the vessels.

Bidders should not book travel until they have received a copy of the ITT and understood the requirements.

A copy of the PQQ can be down loaded from the bottom of this page or you can e-mail the DSA’s Commercial section requesting a copy at deslcsls-dsa-comrcl-3b@mod.uk

The closing date for returning the PQQ to the DSA and expression of interest is 17.00 GMT Wednesday 23rd January 2013.

HMS CUMBERLAND

HMS CAMPBELTOWN

HMS CHATHAM

HMS CORNWALL

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... segnalo questo documento ufficiale su The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2012 Update to Parliament

 

Progress since Initial Gate

Submarine design is a complex activity involving not only the overall hull but also a series of stages for each individual component. There are many thousands of subsystems and components which will need to work together in the final, detailed design. In simple terms, the first stage is to decide and understand the actual specifications of each system and

component, for example the high pressure air system that will surface the submarine. The main outputs from this process are the system drawings and the technical specifications

required for the purchase of equipment provided by companies outside the three Industrial Partners (BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock Marine). Production of these specifications will continue into next year and beyond, reflecting the different lead times of the equipment concerned. The second stage of the design process considers how these various sub-systems and components will be incorporated into the overall Submarine design. In the third and final stage, the detailed technical drawings are produced, building on the work of the previous two stages. These drawings are then finalised and issued to allow the build of the submarine to proceed.

The focus since Initial Gate has been on Stage One work and this is about a third completed, with the first wave of task packages completed. A number of studies are also being conducted to support the work with the aim of achieving the best balance between the submarines’ capability and their cost. In addition, the propulsion system design has been reviewed in detail to ensure confidence in the performance of the submarine. Experience from previous classes of submarines has been drawn upon to continue to improve the design process and so reduce the risks for later phases of the programme including Build, Test and Commissioning and for long term operation. Design principles known as ‘Design for Build’, ‘Design for Safety’, and ‘Design for Support’ have been established. These provide guidance to designers, improving the efficiency of the design process, and providing greater confidence in producing an overall design that meets the operational requirements for the Submarine, without the need for late changes during the Build Phase, historically a common cause of cost increases and delays. Further activities have been undertaken to prepare for checking the design against the actual requirements, which will support the subsequent decision to start building the submarines. The programme is reviewed periodically by the MOD to provide further assurance that the targets for design maturity are met at each stage of the programme.

Drawing on lessons from the Astute submarine programme, a joint Industry/MOD Integrated Programme Management Team (IPMT) has been established. This is a collaboration between the MOD and our three principal Industrial Partners (BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Babcock Marine). The IPMT is working effectively and has produced, refined and matured an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS), which aligns all the different processes across the MOD and Industry. The IMS describes all activities from design, build, test and commissioning to the exit from Barrow. Joint US/UK work on the Common Missile Compartment element of the programme, and work in Derby to complete the design of the Pressurised Water Reactor, remains on track.

There has been a steady increase in the number of people working on the programme at BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness. The total has now passed 1,000 and will

increase further as work progresses. The facilities required to support the build process after Main Gate are being assessed.

Affordability is an important element of all planning activities, and a formal Cost Challenge process has been undertaken, alongside work on delivering the savings that will result from the decision announced in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review to make a reduction to no more than 40 operational warheads on eight operational missiles.

...

Submarine Costs

Of the £3Bn we plan to spend in the Assessment Phase, the expenditure to the end of Financial Year 2011/2012 has totalled £315M. This is some £30M lower than expected at the time of the Initial Gate approval, principally as a result of slower than expected manpower build-up in our Industrial partners. We do not expect this to cause a delay to the programme and, overall, the MOD still expects to deliver the Assessment Phase within the approved cost of £3Bn.

As highlighted in the Initial Gate Parliamentary Report, working with our industry partners under the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme (SEPP) remains key to delivering the successor deterrent programme to the agreed performance, cost and time. Progress on SEPP, with its key objectives of securing sustainability, driving down cost and improving performance of the submarine enterprise, has been good, and the programme is on track to deliver the expected savings of at least £900M by 2020/21. The performance of the

overall submarine enterprise is also steadily improving, as demonstrated by the exit from Barrow of HMS AMBUSH, the second of the Astute Class submarines, in September 2012, and the planned return of HMS VIGILANT to operational duties early in 2013.

Current forecast costs, including planned SEPP efficiency measures, indicate that we remain within the 2006 White Paper estimates of £11-14Bn (at 2006/7 prices) for the Successor

platform costs (assuming a four boat fleet).

...

Future

Over the next year, activity will be focused on the functional design of the Submarine’s constituent systems. A whole boat System Definition Review in 2013 will be conducted to

demonstrate that the proposed system architecture meets the detailed requirements that the MOD has set for the submarine.

A series of Major System Reviews will ensure that every system will meet its individual functional requirements and that, collectively, they can be efficiently integrated to meet the overall User Requirement. In parallel, the layout of the Submarine will be designed in progressive detail to match the increasing detail of the system specifications. The Build Strategy and the associated Test and Commissioning Strategy will also be progressively refined. The collaborative management arrangements introduced last year will be refined further and the increased understanding between contractors will enable the identification and removal of duplication and inefficiency. The next iteration of the submarine safety case, which will set out the basis of the claim that the submarine is safe to own and operate, will also be delivered.

A further report to parliament will be made in 2013.

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Ma, come si è risolta (...se si è risolta) la diatriba tra la RAF e la Fleet Air Arm? non ne ho più sentito parlare.....Chi "gestirà" i futuri F-35 sulla "Queen Elizabeth" tra le due forze?

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The hunt for USS Dallas .... 15cyidz.jpg

 

HMS Westminster in hunt for USS Dallas ....

 

The Royal Navy has again demonstrated how effective a T23 Frigate can be in a multi-national task Group.

 

Fonte .... http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/News-and-Events/Latest-News/2013/October/03/131003-HMS-Westminster-USS-Dallas

 

sec9cj.jpg

 

A volte .... i ruoli si invertono .... ed ora è il Dallas ad essere cacciato .... B-)

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Ma in questo articolo si insinua che potrebbe essere stato il Dallas a far fuori la Illustrious ....

 

A photo depicting an American nuclear-powered submarine poking its periscope above the waves—within shooting distance of a British aircraft carrier during a war game—is a useful reminder of one of the most important truths of naval warfare.

The provocative photo depicts the masts of the U.S. Navy attack submarine USS Dallas near the carrier HMS Illustrious during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman on Oct. 3.

Neither navy has published the results of the exercise, so it’s not clear whether Dallas got close enough in the course of the war game to simulate firing Mark-48 torpedoes at the flattop

 

Fonte .... https://medium.com/war-is-boring/f281fbc518fd

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“My ship’s company very much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with such an impressive battle cruiser.”

 

Sarebbe interessante sapere cosa ne pensa il Capitano russo, Pyotr Velykyi.

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L'ultimo Type 45 ....

 

"Final Type 45 Destroyer Enters UK Royal Navy Service" .... http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131230/DEFREG01/312300007

 

Gov.UK .... "HMS Duncan, the Royal Navy’s sixth Type 45 Destroyer, has entered into service four months ahead of schedule" .... https://www.gov.uk/government/news/final-type-45-destroyer-enters-service-early?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news-story-final-type-45-destroyer-enters-service-early

 

 

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www.meretmarine.com

 

Il 4 luglio prossimo battesimo della più grande nave da guerra d'Europa: la Queen Elisabeth...

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Queen_Elisabeth_crane_edit.png

 

Mi è capitato di buttare un occhio su questa foto, e noto che la gru che ha costruito la Queen Elisabeth è stata fornita dalla ZPMC o Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry.

http://www.zpmc.com/about.php

 

Segno dei tempi e della globalizzazione

 

 

Bel colpo d'occhio.

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intanto, da almeno un paio di mesi a questa parte, all'ammiragliato stanno tirando giù più di un santo: considerando la rediviva attività sottomarina russa ed il pensionamento della linea dei Nimrod, si sono dovuti rivolgere a vari coloniali, leggasi americani e candesi, per ottenere un ombrello ASW, fornito dai loro Orion (taciamo, per dignità, sull'aiuto giunto da oltre-manica :asd:)

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11334836/MoD-forced-to-ask-US-for-help-in-tracking-Russian-submarine.html

 

interessante, la parte sul periscopio avvistato da un peschereccio... onestamente non capisco come si possa fare una cosa così stupida.

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