A recent article in a South African newspaper reported one of the country’s three German-built diesel-electric subs was out of action. She actually joined her two sister boats in that regard, as a result of a groundings, electrical problems, hydraulic failures, etc. All of which will sound familiar to readers of Canadian news stories about our four British-built boats. The South African article also pointed out that the Royal Navy had recently bumped bottom with a nuclear-powered boat, and the Russian navy suffered a fire on board one of their submersibles.
Canada's originally British Upholder-class subs (Victoria-class in Canada), HMCS Victoria, Windsor, Corner Brook and Chicoutimi have been the subject of much derision and negative comment. Some of that has been deserved—it is always hard to explain how, in this day of electronic marvels, a modern warship can accidentally hit bottom. And only recently have the collective Canadian submarines started racking up days at sea on a sustained basis. But—and it’s a big but—there is a lot more to the story of why the Victorias have such a checkered history.
More to come!