A British Trafalgar-class nuclear-powered attack submarine was damaged while tracking vessels of the Russian Navy last year, the Royal Navy has confirmed. The Brits said the damage was caused after the 5,300-ton sub hit "floating ice" with a section of its tower, The Daily Mail on Sunday reports. The Royal Navy refused to elaborate or where the damaged was caused.

According to the Mail, a six-foot hole was torn in the conning tower of HMS Talent (shown above), and will lay-up the sub for the next several months at a cost of 500,000 pounds (almost $750,000 at today's rates) to British taxpayers. The damage, which looked largely limited to the two-inch-thick acoustic panels that line the boat's hull, was only uncovered after the Talent was seen sailing into a navy refit facility in Devonport last month.

"HMS Talent suffered minor superficial damage after striking some floating ice last year. She remained fully operational and continued with her deployment," the Royal Navy confirmed to the Mail yesterday.

While it's plausible that the Talent was damaged after hitting ice, the Mail reports that was a popular excuse for sub damage sustained during the Cold War. According to the tabloid, HMS Scepter suffered damage after allegedly striking ice in 1981, although it was later uncovered that it actually collided with a Russian Delta III ballistic missile sub.

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