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Bloke down the pub

‘<i>It would not be less of a problem for handling by ‘motherships’ with powerful cranes (such as RFA Proteus for example).</i>’
Would not be, or would be?


Better to be making a recon of the French beaches again, to fend off the reverse invasion. On subject of 80 years ago, at which time my Mum as a Wren writer at HMS Mastodon and on Admiral Ramsay’s Staff at Southwick Park, with highest security clearance, knew all about that stuff. Just saying.

The Whale Island Zoo Keeper

It’s the crew that make submarines work. And it is difficulties of detection that give them their advantage.

It all smacks of the 1957 White Paper Redux to me. A government chasing technology for savings and not for advantage at sea.

Peter S

We clearly do not have enough SSNs to cover all the tasks needed. But I am not sure how effective cheaper UUVs will be. The problem of remote control under water hasn’t been solved, so autonomous operation is the only option. Performing ISR functions on a preprogrammed course might add to existing methods of detection of hostile submarines, but what else will they be useful for?


Oohhh the famous “manned fighters are now out of date, let’s scrap every military aircraft development in the country and destroy the industry because missiles will replace everything” white paper…

To be fair I think this is actually adding a capability that we don’t have. In effect these will provide the sort or capability you would see in a smaller electric boat..There is no way we are getting any electric why not, this set of capabilities does not come close to delivering what an SSN provides and you would be a bit bonkers replacing your SSN capabilities with this ( not saying HMG would not do bonkers).


yes. That seems they way its working out. Because its been over 100 years everyone forgets that how early low capability submarines were introduced too.

HMS A-1 from

Supportive Bloke

I’d see this as an a potentially rapid augmentation of capabilties so the Astutes can stick to core taskings.

Also these can be sent to dangerous places that you wouldn’t want to send crewed boats into.

I suspect these could also be used for SF insertions.

Trevor G

I was slightly amused to see mention of a possible underwater ground vehicle in relation to protection of seabed assets. I remember at Cammell Laird in the 1960s we were working on just such a project….


So what is the weight limit for lifting on and off the T26 from the mission bay, do we know? I seem to remember the graphics showing an XLUUV as one of the options?


Max weight 15 tonnes. Navy Lookout have a video on YouTube that explains.
‘An in depth look at the type 26 frigate design’


when more developed, could be dropping them off in black sea type situation when sea access denied. the astutes are top class, but this could add options.

Peter (Irate Taxpayer)


Interestingly, this is yet another example of the RN being very struck in its ways and only thinking very-conventionally.

All of the RN studies (and it must now be said, also all of these posts on NL) have all assumed that the small uncrewed submarine must be delivered by the Navy by sea (i.e. arriving into the operational theatre either by surface ship, or on the back of a larger submarine).

Seemingly the RN has never considered using one of three more-innovative ways of deploying these small submarines either very close to – or possibly right into the very heart of – a hostile / denied sea areas.

1) Road Delivery

The first very-obvious alternative to putting a submarine onboard a ship or onto the back of larger sub must surely be to drive one of these to the operational threatre on road transport.

A standard HGV could drive from the UK up to any sea port which is close to the denied sea area (the submarine being transported whilst snuggly wrapped up inside its own shipping container).

For example, Haverfest in northern Norway; Kunda in Estonia or Odessa in Ukraine would be three very-obvious commercial ports that are each very close to the edge of Mr Putin’s EE (Evil Empire). All three of these commercial ports are only a few days drive by road away from the UK. Furthermore, a single lorry arriving at a busy port would not arose any suspicion…… .

Once at the port, it would only requires a few matelots as a handling crew, and also a medium-sized mobile crane, to lift one of these small M-subs off the lorry and into the sea. Press the big green start button and off the submarine motors.

The Matelots would then – obviously – swiftly retire to a nearby suitable bar on the quayside…..whilst the autonomous submarine goes off on its own to go and do the business….

2) Air-Portable

An RAF A400M has an unrefueled range of 4,000nm (carrying a 20T payload), which is more than enough to deliver one of these new uncrewed M-Subs to a commercial airfield, or even a rough field, which is close to any one of those three aforementioned ports.

3) Air-Dropping

The third and last possible alterative would admittedly need a more development:

  • Back in 2010/11, the USAF at Edwards AFB were successfully testing single loads of well over 25T being paradropped from the back of a Boeing C17 which was flying at over 20,000 feet
  • Also, just two years ago, the MOD issued a requirement to develop the capability to drop 16T British Army loads, including armored vehicles, out of a A400M

Therefore IF either the C17 or the A400 could be used (most-probably the C17) then a single 17T autonomous submarine could be deployed straight into the sea by high-altitude paradrop = arriving very close to either Murmansk or Sevastopol or Kaliningrad to start doing the business…..
Regards Peter The Irate Taxpayer

Peter Bryson

NL Author

Thank you for the clarification about transportation methods = much appreciated (and I have to add = good news)

Peter The Irate Taxpayer

Greta Thunderpants

It could.