Number of Kremlin subs in UK waters is up ‘tenfold’
‘Fragile defence capabilities’
RUSSIAN submarine activity around Britain’s coast has increased tenfold in the past six years, the new Defence Secretary has warned.
Numbers of submarines sent by the Kremlin to UK waters are now similar to the levels of the Cold War, Gavin Williamson said.
It comes as former senior military commanders warn that Britain’s Armed Forces are ‘close to breaking’.
Yesterday, the former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, told MPs that its anti-submarine warfare capability was ‘inadequate’ and his successor was struggling with further cuts.
The UK was forced to call upon the US and Canada to help hunt down a suspected Russian submarine just last month. Speaking about the UK’s arsenal to deal with the Russian threat, Admiral Zambellas said: ‘I think the total of the sum of those parts is in my view inadequate for the current strategic risk.’
General Sir Richard Barrons, the former commander of Joint Forces Command, was among the ex-chiefs to warn that cuts mean the Army is ‘20 years out of date’ and ready to ‘fall over’. He said defence was short of £2billion a year and if more money was not spent, the Government would be responsible for ‘tipping the Armed Forces into institutional failure’.
Lib Dem defence spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: ‘This scathing criticism from a top former general emphasises the increasingly fragile nature of Britain’s defence capabilities.’
His comments came ahead of next week’s Budget in which Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to ignore calls to give more money to the MoD.
The MoD said of the submarine hunt: ‘We have robust protection in place for our vessels and are investing £3billion of our rising budget into buying nine new P8 aircraft to patrol the seas.’