Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oops! Senior Service Imitates Infant Navy


British and American people who have worked with professionals from the subcontinent known as India have generally found them very knowledgeable and diligent. We naturally hold great hopes for India's military aspirations to assure survival of their republic and constitutional liberties.

Two months ago (January 30th), however we had posted the following regarding apparent obstacles to India's aspirations for a nuclear navy:

  • India's male literacy rate in a proper context with its advanced nuclear submarine (naval) ambitions. It was pointed out, for example, that India's male literacy rate was below Swaziland's (82.6%).
  • Consider this incident, not so much for its obvious humor, but for the absence of discilpine it evidences:
"Last week of December, 2013: A shell from the Coast Guard ship Sangram landed inside the premises of the Indian Navy in Mumbai when the ship was clearing its gun upon its return into the harbour."

Fast Forward

March 2014  The GuardianWarship fires dummy torpedo into nuclear submarine dockyard wharf
"We can confirm an incident occurred on board HMS Argyll on March 12 at 3.24pm, while the ship was alongside at Devonport naval base in Plymouth," the spokesman said. "HMS Argyll was conducting a system test when an inert Test Variant torpedo was jettisoned unexpectedly. The torpedo is not an explosive hazard."  


Clearly, the Royal Navy (Britain's Senior Service based upon years of experience) unlike India, recruits candidates in a nation with a 99% literacy rate. Embarrassing training mistakes are made daily even among the world's more advanced navies.  In rare instances, even non-qualified U.S. submariners have committed similar errors.

Although HMS Argyll had recently engaged in counter-narcotics work before returning to home port via the Panama Canal, no connection between skimmers and narcotics should be assumed.

Great Brittain's paternalism toward India may not have ended in 1947, when India achieved its independence from the United Kingdom.  Was the dummy Stingray torpedo launch into a nuclear sub dockyard diplomatic cover for India's navy, a sign of Royal Navy aging pains, or just an uncannily similar embarrassment?

If you are reading this, John Marwood Cleese, please let us know. 

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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