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Mr defence

According to The Times the reason was an Astute class could not get within firing range. Apparently kept out by 2 Russian subs and various surface ships. Cat and mouse Cold War stuff, or just BS 🤷🏻‍♂️


TLAM Block IV has a range of over 900 nm, you could fire them from Crete and still hit targets in Syria if you wanted to. This story was complete bunkum.


Those Russian sub’s were chasing them, how the astute would launch tomahawks?? Giving away its position


Or deemed too risky as Russians were up top looking very hard a la Sunday Times


Happy to accept that boats were available, but realistically we are talking 1-2 boats available, assuming zero were actually in Med at the time of the Chemical attack on Douma 6 days previously. They are available but in home or Northern waters.

Would one have been able to be positioned off Syrian Coast, and if so when would the decision have had to be made to move it?

If one was off the coast of Syria the other reasons are perfectly legitimate but it could be as simple as on this occasion the RAF was already there and the RN wasn’t.


I imagine it’s a combination of several factors, chief of which is undoubtably that we already have Tornados/Typhoons forward based at Cyprus and the Americans value what Storm Shadow brings to the table over additional TLAM which aren’t in short supply. I seriously doubt the RN had a sub in the Eastern Med gathering intelligence. 7 SSN’s was already woefully inadequate before things with Russia turned frosty. Now that monitoring their own subs is the priority i don’t see how a boat can be kept East of Suez or deploy with the carrier group in the future.


With the Russian naval base in Syria we probably need a ‘Mediterranean Fleet’ based in Gibraltar. The Russian submarines cant come into the Mediterranean via the Bosphorus, its either via the Straits of Gibraltar or the Suez.
We certainly need more submarines. Whatever happened to the 7th or even 8th Astute?
5 conventional Submarines would be good and tip the balance firmly in our favour.
Moscow has adopted a strongly anti- UK stance and we need to take notice and get strong.


Exactly. Your last sentence sums up the last few months perfectly. We should be strengthening the armed forces, especially the RN, rather hearing reports of cutting the Royal Marines and their capability.

andy reeves

a few type 31’s if they ever get built should be forward based at gib i had the fortune to visit gibraltar for the first time since 1985 i couldn’t recognise the place dirty dusty,, mostly closed. the locals say the rock’s economy has been badly affected since far less warships visited. i used to love the place.


There’s been talk of an Astute playing cat and mouse with some Kilo’s off the Syrian coast. Might have intended to lob some TLAMs but was too busy eluding the Russians.

Just looks like media speculation at this point though.

andy reeves

talk from where? astute is the elephant in the room a big reason for the ‘black hole in the defence budget. an utter waste. my son was on trafalgar when it retired everyone believed the boats were good for years more the retired Trafalgar sit with the other 19 boats rotting in devonport and rosyth

Last edited 1 year ago by andy reeves
Roland Ward

I’m wondering if the use of RAF aircraft was also to provide some handy media footage.


It’s pure, 100% Russian propaganda.

1. News that Astute was positioning for attack. No way the MoD releases that kind of information. Story planted by Russia.

2. Putin comments pitying British submariners, just builds on the original lie.

3. Story printed simultaneously by several British newspapers that British submarine was foiled by the glorious Russian Navy. Just like Comrade Putin claimed.

The Kilo story appears to have come from one source. All the details are identical in the varies media outlets, down to the “black hole” Kilo’s. A term I have never heard before associated with these subs.

The story discredits the RN and plays up the effectiveness of the Russian Navy. Without this fairy tale and the fiction that 70 missiles were intercepted by the Russian supplied Syrian air defenses, Putin would be totally exposed as the windbag he is, claiming that he would prevent/punish the UK & US strikes.


Geoffrey Hicking

If I could vote for this comment twice, I would.

wasp snorter

Absolutely correct Ron – the Russians are good at mis-information. Saying the UK staged the gas attack in Syria in the first place – now just makes them look even more ludicrous and bare faced liars.


Another possibility (ie total speculation, but why not) – the UK let it be known a sub was moving to the Eastern med in the hope the Russians would spend time looking for it. Then didn’t move one as there was no lack of TLAM platforms.

Agree the Kilo story feels suspiciously pro Kremlin.

andy reeves

if theres a grain of truth in this rubbish, it again shows the spending of over a billion per boat is the fiscal policy of the madhouse. overpriced, overhyped, unpopular with the crews, leaking, rusting,slow. none have yet to reach the projected top speed 14 gotland type conventionals for the price of one astute? its not rocket science.


There are 6 fast attack SSNs in the RN. One is always protecting the deterrence patrol and one is always doing the Falklands patrol. One of them is heading to relieve one of the other two. The other three don’t have crews.

Mike C

i fear you need to check your facts!!


The facts speak for themselves, no TLAMs = no submarine


Nooooo, you dont have a clue. Just because no RN Tomahawks were fired doesnt mean that there was no submarine down there.
Unless you are high up in government or the MOD you are not going to know for certain.


According to the Times the Astute was picked up by a 40 year old diesel submarine. I like my excuse better.

andy reeves


Harry Nelson

cow poo!


To be very honest I do not think it is a good idea having large nuclear subs such as the Astute class in the Med. They are just to big. Even in WWII the RN realised that the big subs in the Med were easier to locate and target. It is time that the British government started to think about re-introducing a conventional powered sub class for the RN possibly 8 subs for Med, N.Sea and coastal operations.

Iqbal Ahmed

Britain s role during the Syria strike was to supply intelligence via deployment of the Rivet Joint aircraft to jam Syrian and Russian air defence systems.

A direct missile strike couldn’t be made as HMS Duncan lacks cruise missiles and another ship/submarine couldn’t be deployed in the Eastern Med in time.

I think our expenditure on Trident and the Carriers is hindering our ability to undertake conventional naval deployments and operations. Maybe fewer but well equipped and armed platforms should be the strategy to follow, with more emphasise on crew training and retention.


Iqbal, don’t you think you are contradicting yourself there?
On one hand we’ve spent too much on the vanguards and the carriers and then ask for fewer, better armed platforms.
Surely the carriers and the vanguards are amongst the best armed, best equipped platforms in the world?

Fred H

To be honest, there should be Tomahawks on Type 45s. Ridiculous that there is no surface capacity to launch them.


Though there’s no official disclosure from the MoD, it’s highly likely the Astute was shadowed by one or two Kilos. They’ve been around since the russian Caspian Sea strike (they also carry Calibr missiles), and although old Soviet tech, they’re very good at 30 dB silent mode. Missing the opportunity to engage in real combat while being on the spot, demands a very ‘convincing’ explanation.
BTW, the Bosphorus has an average depth of 60m, with its shallower section at around 13m. Plenty of leeway for Kilos to go through.


Joset, you are grossly overrating the capabilities of kilos compared to current western technology.
As for your first sentence, the RN didn’t put out a press release denying their involvement in the American elections. You presumably think it’s ‘ highy likely’ they were?


On what concerns your last point, I just want to stress out that my view [on the “Astute” ‘s participation on the said strike], was purely based upon non-specialized media (if it was there, what was its purpose and did it achieve it?).
As for the tech-side of it, it’s more a matter of tech-enough, rather than high-tech. Russians are good at it.
At the end of the day, we might never know… or else.

andy reeves

THE SWIFTSURE CLASS ssn was fitted at great expense to carry tomahawk then the class was all retired, the whole c,lass are still currently sitting in devonport and rosyth,a u.k swiftsure launched tomahawk as recently as the libya conflict. too see these vessels sitting as they are is awful especially when billions are being wasted on astute at the time of its withdrawal the swiftsure was still considered as one of the best ssn’s in use anywhere i’d like to see them surveyed and where able recommissioned.