February 16, 2009 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident and Lessons Learned: So Quiet That You Would Collide Before You Heard Something

Both the French and the British have confirmed that two ballistic missile submarines collided while on patrol in the Atlantic.

Many are wondering how this could happen. What is the “root cause.”

The answer? When ballistic missile submarines are traveling very slow, they are DESIGNED to be almost impossible to detect.

What keeps these kinds of accidents from happening more often?

The oceans (and the patrol zones for these subs) are very large. And ballistic missile subs try to stay away from anything that makes noise. Therefore the odds of two ballistic missile submarines colliding are very small.

But “very small” is greater than zero (as we have now proved).

The ridiculous part of the reporting was the scare tactics about nuclear reactors being damaged and nuclear weapons detonating. This was nonsense … but whenever “nuclear” is in a story … the worst case disaster (even if almost impossible to achieve) is what is put forth as a “near-miss.”

So the obvious lesson learned is … the French and the British need to make their submarines much LOUDER.

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