Just as the Royal Navy was coming to terms with the government's decision to scrap the Ark Royal, while work continues on two new aircraft carriers - one going into service without any planes, and the other probably ending up as a Prison ship anchored off Portland, Dorset - then they have to explain another careless use of precious assets.
HMS Astute, Britain's brand new state-of-the art, nuclear-powered attack submarine, equipped with the latest stealth technology and "a world beating" sonar system with a range of 3,000 nautical miles, ran aground in familiar waters during an exercise off the Isle of Skye.
One of its operational tasks is to drop special forces discreetly ashore, yet it managed to get stuck in mud while transferring men and supplies to a boat. The cost of repairs could run into millions of pounds to the £1.2billion sub.
Local lifeboatman Ross McKerlich said he was amazed that the submarine went ahead with a crew transfer where it did. "These big subs normally lie six miles off shore. I have never seen a sub as big as this come this close. Someone's made an error."
Neither Sub Lieutenant Phillips, Chief Petty Officer Pertwee nor Able Seaman Johnson were available for comment.