18:13 GMT +317 October 2019
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    HMS Astute, the British Royal Navy's latest nuclear hunter killer submarine

    Reports on Dire State of UK Subs 'Looks Like Campaign to Get More Funding'

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    The Royal Navy's subsurface fleet is rumored to be in dire straits, with all seven attack submarines non-operational. Defense analyst Konstantin Sivkov told Radio Sputnik that these reports might have been exaggerated, adding that they appear to resemble a coordinated media campaign aimed at securing more funding.

    According to an unnamed source in the Royal Navy, HMS Triumph, Torbay, Artful, Talent, Trenchant and Ambush are undergoing maintenance, while HMS Astute is still being tested. If true, this would mean that London has found itself in a situation unseen for decades.

    "I want to point out that reports on UK submarines have surfaced right after the [US Navy] said that approximately 60 percent of its aircraft are not combat ready. … This looks like a coordinated campaign which pursues only one goal. It wants to convince Americans and Brits that they have underdeveloped fleets which need to be swiftly reconstructed and which require increased defense spending," he suggested.

    Earlier in February, the US Navy said that more than half of the aircraft in the Navy and Marine Corps' arsenal are non-operational.

    Sivkov maintained that the Royal Navy has experienced troubles, but its state is not as dire as some portray.

    "True, the United Kingdom has spent less on defense in recent years. One could assume that this could have contributed to fleet wear and breakdowns. But it does not look like the situation is as catastrophic [as described]. This looks like a prearranged scenario, a coordinated information campaign aimed at securing more funds. And they will get them," the analyst said.

    The information regarding the Royal Navy Submarine Service has ostensibly been kept away from UK Prime Minister Theresa May since high-ranking defense officials are concerned with her reaction. According to the Sun, former Prime Minister David Cameron "flew into a rage" when he was informed of the situation in 2014.

    The Royal Navy's subsurface fleet comprises the Trafalgar-class and Astute-class nuclear powered submarines, with the latter meant to replace the former. The Astute-class subs, produced by the BAE Systems plc, have been in service since 2010. HMS Astute was declared operational in 2014, while HMS Ambush and Artful were commissioned in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

    BAE Systems, a British multinational defense, security and aerospace company, is expected to build a total of seven Astute-class subs, each estimated to cost more than $1.7 million.

    The aging Trafalgar class has been in service since 1983. It is expected to be fully decommissioned by 2022.

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