Photo credit: Faslane Peace Camp
A US Navy submarine – believed to be the sophisticated spy submarine USS Jimmy Carter – has been spotted visiting Scotland’s Faslane submarine base on the Clyde estuary.
The submarine, which was observed by anti-nuclear campaigners at Faslane Peace Camp, is thought to have arrived on or just before Tuesday 26 February, and left on Friday 1 March at around 10pm.
The submarine has the distinctive curved conning tower of a United States ‘Seawolf’ class submarine, and its unusual length suggests that it is the USS Jimmy Carter, which is 30 metres longer than other Seawolf class submarines. The USS Jimmy Carter – described as a “unique multi-mission platform” by the US Navy – was purpose built to undertake classified missions, including communications interception, the launch of remotely operated underwater vehicles, and dispatch of special forces.
The reason for the visit is not known. A temporary structure was observed on the submarine’s hull at one point during the visit, leading to speculation that repair work of some kind may have been underway.
Foreign submarines are occasional visitors to Faslane, but usually only when NATO military exercises are underway. Visits of foreign nuclear powered submarines to Faslane have raised concerns about nuclear safety and regulation, as UK nuclear safety regulators do not have access to technical information about the design of their reactors.
In August 2013 a French nuclear-armed Triomphant class submarine was spotted entering the Faslane base.