Check Out The Huge Dent In HMS Ambush

HMS Ambush, one of the Royal Navy’s newest nuclear fast attack submarines (SSN), collided with a commercial tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. The resulting damage was not superficial; a big dent has been made in her conning tower and will require significant repairs.

The HMS Ambush puts back to port with a huge dent in her conning tower., AP

The Astute class of SSNs are some of the most advanced submarines ever put to sea, and they aren’t cheap. The first three boasts in the class, of which Ambush is the middle child, cost $2.4 billion each. If it cost a lot to build, it isn’t cheap to fix.

Ambush being put out of action for considerable time will be a blow to the Royal Navy’s relatively tiny fast attack submarine force, which is made up of just seven boats total (three Astute class plus four older Trafalgar class).

The event occurred last Wednesday at 1:30 PM when Ambush was executing a surfacing drill as part of the extremely challenging Submarine Commander Course, ominously nicknamed “The Perisher.” It is unknown if a trainee was commanding the sub at the exact time the incident occurred. She made it back to port under her own power, and a plan is coming together to move her, presumably back to the UK, for repairs.

The good news is that no lives were lost in the mishap. Submarines are built very tough, as they have to sustain the high pressures while operating deep below the waves. As such, they are repairable, with even entire bow sections being transplanted from one nuclear submarine to another in the past. 

Astute class cutaway., BAE Systems

As for her Skipper, we will have to wait and see if his career is as repairable as Ambush’s conning tower.

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