Great Britain and France have always had their cultural differences, but the latest military miscommunication between the two hardly has them shouting vive la difference! This one literally could have gone nuclear.

A couple of elite nuclear submarines, the British HMS Vanguard and the French Navy's Le Triomphant, collided in the Northern Atlantic on Feb. 4 while "conducting routine patrols," both countries acknowledged on Sunday. Both subs are armed with multiple-warhead nuclear missiles.

But the Vanguard and Le Triomphant are also equipped with some of the most sophisticated military sonar devices available, complete with various antennas and sensors that collect information that is analyzed by high-powered computers.

So how is it possible that two nuclear subs of allied countries, both carrying state-of-the-art sonar equipment, could bump into each other?

"Sonars come in two flavors," John Pike, director of the Globalsecurity.org, told Foxnews.com.

Passive sonar, which listens without transmitting, is particularly helpful in stealth situations, but what happens when two ballistic submarines designed to hide and remain silent are within close range?

"It's pitch black after a couple of hundred feet. In the movies like 'Hunt for Red October,' you can see the subs in the water, but in reality it's blindman's bluff down there."

"The crash could have been a coincidence — some people win the lottery — but it's much more possible that one vessel was chasing the other, trying to figure out what it was."