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  Military
Stealth capacity may have caused Franco-British sub crash
17/02/2009 | LOC18:35
15:35 GMT
| World News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
PARIS, Feb 17 (KUNA) -- The stealth capacity of modern, nuclear submarines may have been the cause of a crash between French and British nuclear submarines earlier this month and the two vessels may not have even have been aware they had hit another vessel, officials and Defence Ministry sources said Tuesday.
The incident, which apparently took place on February 3-4, was only leaked last Sunday in a British newspaper and confirmed 36 hours later here in Paris.
Frances "Le Triomphant" and Britains "HMS Vanguard" ran into each other in the Atlantic Ocean while on routine patrol.
Both vessels are nuclear-powered and are also equipped with up to 48 nuclear warheads carried on 16 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), sources indicated.
According to a version of the incident, recounted Tuesday by Defence Minister Herve Morin, the commander of the French vessel thought he had hit a floating container and surfaced to inspect the zone.
The French submarine immediately returned to base, as it had suffered sonar damage.
Morin affirmed that the British only realized something had happened when they were contacted by the French side.
The HMS Vanguard apparently continued its mission after the crash but was later taken to Scotland for repairs.
"Our submarine went back to Brest, the British submarine continued its patrol and it is when we reported the incident that the British "contacted us, " Morin said on "Canal Plus" television.
Asked about how such an unprecedented incident could occur with such modern vessels, Morin replied that such vessels are "undetectable" and make "less noise than a shrimp." He said that to avoid such incidents in the future, France and Britain could get together and discuss their operational zones. (end) jk.tg KUNA 171835 Feb 09NNNN
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