A NAVAL captain from Southampton may face a court martial after his £1billion nuclear-powered stealth submarine ran aground in Scotland.

Commander Andy Coles, who was born in the city, was skippering the Royal Navy's HMS Astute in sea trials off the Isle of Skye when the embarrassing incident happened.

The 7,400 tonne boat is a brand new Astute class hunter killer subs designed to be invisible to enemies and billed as the next generation of submarines.

It was pulled free by a tug shortly after 6.15pm before being taken to deeper waters.

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Sister vessel HMS Artful is set to be adopted by Southampton, as revealed by the Daily Echo this week.

Navy spokesman Captain Karl Evans said: "There will clearly be a full investigation in due course into the incidents leading up to this untoward event."

Military prosecutors will then consider whether Commander Coles, or any of his crew was negligent.

Cdr Coles, who now lives with his wife Emma and son Max in Devon, was appointed to command HMS Astute in 2008.

A defence source said it was likely that Cdr Coles, as the officer in ultimate charge of the advanced nuclear-powered submarine, would face a court martial.

The service inquiry, by specialists in navigation and naval engineering, will look in minute detail at what happened with a view to learning lessons to avoid a costly repetition.

Royal Navy Police could also launch criminal investigation into whether any offences were committed under the Armed Forces Act 2006.

Members of HMS Astute's crew could be charged with performing a duty negligently or ''hazarding'' one of Her Majesty's ships through negligence.

The Service Prosecuting Authority, the military equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service, would then decide whether there is enough evidence to bring anyone before a court martial.