Undersea cables carrying over 90% of the worlds telecommunications – including trillions of dollars’ worth of financial transactions every day – are increasingly under threat from a secret new Russian sub
The Royal Navy is getting a new specialised craft designed to fight a secret war beneath the oceans.
Defence chiefs are increasingly concerned about the capabilities of a secret Russian navy nuclear submarine known as Losharik.
The deep-diving craft is referred to in a United States Northern Command briefing as a “dark target”.
They could destroy or tap into the undersea cables responsible for 97% of worldwide communications and carry trillions of dollars’ worth of international financial transfers every day, the report says.
British and US military sources have recently warned of Russian submarines “aggressively operating” near the Atlantic undersea cables.
The new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship (MROSS), due in service by 2024, is intended to counter this threat, reports Telegraph.
According to the MoD, MROSS will be equipped “with advanced sensors and will carry a number of remotely operated and autonomous undersea drones which will collect data”.
As well as guarding the all-important transatlantic cable, MROSS will also “be able to support with other defence tasks, including exercises and operations in the Arctic which will become an increasingly contested area”.
Getting the MROSS in service by 2024 will be a significant challenge for Ben Wallace, who as well as being Britain’s Defence Secretary was also appointed by Boris Johnson as the government’s “Shipbuilding Tsar” to reinvigorate an industry with “a deep and visceral connection to so many parts of the UK and to the Union itself”.
It’s thought that he may consider buying an existing ship and retrofit the necessary technology to track Losharik and its nuclear-powered mothership Belgorod.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “As the threat changes, we must change. Our adversaries look to our critical national infrastructure as a key vulnerability and have developed capabilities that put these under threat.
“Some of our new investments will therefore go into ensuring that we have the right equipment to close down these newer vulnerabilities.”
“Whether on land, sea or air,” he added, “we must make sure that we maintain the UK resilience to those that attempt to weaken us.”
A broad review of the UK’s defence capabilities is focusing on increasing aggression from both official Russian military units and mercenary organisations such as the Wagner Group, which believed to be in the pay of the Russian government.
Operatives from the elite SAS regiment are expected to be retasked to work alongside MI6 agents in a bid to “disrupt Russian meddling around the world”.