All Royal Navy Trafalgar-class submarines have specially strengthened hulls and conning towers for breaking through massive polar icepacks. Yet for some reason, HMS Talent returned to port sporting a massive dent in its forehead, and the British Ministry of Defence is blaming it on “ice.” Okay.

The Daily Mail reports that the sub was tracking Russian vessels when it collided with, well, something, though MOD officials are apparently adamant that it was ice and definitely nothing else. An unusually cheery and delightful MOD spokesperson confirmed to us that the Talent was involved in a collision resulting in that massive crumpling you see above, though they couldn’t provide any explanation beyond that.

But that would definitely be weird.

Now it is entirely possible that the Talent hit some ice, in a horizontal fashion, while not very deep. Though it is unlikely, considering how the Trafalgar-class is designed to avoid damage from ice, as you can see from this one sticking its face out of the icy polar crust:

But since the Trafalgar class attack subs tend to wander through ice with no problems whatsoever, we're left to grasp at straws a bit. As the Mail notes, the collision occurred on an undetermined date last year. And British submarines in the past have claimed that they've hit frozen water when they've actually slammed into Russian vessels, as the crew of the HMS Sceptre did when they hit a Russian submarine in 1981. It's not like similar incidents are relegated to decades past, either, as the HMS Vanguard managed to bump into the French submarine Le Triomphant in the middle of the open ocean back in 2009.

Advertisement

Furthermore, submarines tend to cruise along without banging away on active sonar to hide themselves, which is fine for most situations but can lead to unexpected collisions, with ice, submarines, surface vessels, or otherwise.

But who knows? Maybe it was ice, and the MOD isn't fibbing about it this time. Or maybe it was something else. Have any wild theories as to what could've left the Talent looking like someone took a bat to its nose? Let us know in the comments below.


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: 0D03 F37B 4C96 021E 4292 7B12 E080 0D0B 5968 F14E