Britain's fleet of submarines 'out of action' report is 'categorically not true'
Reports that Britain's entire fleet of attack submarines is currently out of operation due to repair and maintenance work have been dismissed by military sources.
It comes after the Sun reported that seven nuclear-powered vessels, including three new Astute class submarines, which cost more than £1 billion each, and four Trafalgar class boats were all currently classed as non-operational.
The UK's Vanguard submarines, which carry Trident nuclear missiles, are in operation but according to the newspaper it is the first time in decades the Royal Navy has no attack submarines ready.
But on Friday afternoon, an MoD source said the claims were false.
"The story is categorically not true - there are operational, capable and ready attack submarines," they said.
"Where they might be is clearly sensitive operational information that the MoD will not comment on."
The Sun reported that five of the submarines were having refits or maintenance after breaking down, while HMS Ambush has been recalled to Britain for repairs after colliding with a merchant vessel off Gibraltar.
According to the report, the remaining attack submarine, HMS Astute, was having trials at sea following maintenance work, and was weeks away from being operational for missions.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We don't comment on specific submarine operations.”
"Britain has a world-class fleet, the Royal Navy continues to meet all of its operational tasking, deploying globally on operations and protecting our national interests as Britain steps up around the world."
The Astute class vessels are the most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.
They weigh around 7,400 tonnes, equivalent to nearly 1,000 double-decker buses, and are 328ft (100m) long.
Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Barrow-built vessels can accurately strike targets up to 1,200 miles (1,931km) from the coast.
Advanced stealth technology means they can remain undetected despite being 50% larger than the Trafalgar class submarines they will replace.
Their nuclear reactors will not need refuelling in their entire 25-year life and they make their own air and water, enabling them to circumnavigate the globe without needing to surface.
The news follows last month's revelation that a test firing of a Trident missile by the Royal Navy off the coast of America last June failed.