UK Defense Secretary promises two ships to protect underwater cables

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace says the UK government plans to deploy “two specialized vessels” to protect critical undersea cables that could be attacked by Russia or other hostile foreign powers. He said he does.

Speaking at a Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Mr Wallace said the “mysterious” damage suffered by the Baltic Nordstream gas pipeline on 26 September was a threat to the British economy against such attacks on undersea infrastructure. He said it reminded him how “vulnerable” he was.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said claims that the leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines were due to Russian sabotage were “predictably ridiculous. “This looks like some sort of act of terrorism. State level.”

Russia closed Nord Stream 1 last month, citing maintenance needs, and Nord Stream 2 was shut down by Germany in February, days before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Wallace said Russia “has made no secret” of its ability to damage and disrupt underwater infrastructure.

Britain ‘hugely relies on pipelines and cables’

“Our internet and energy depend heavily on pipelines and cables,” Wallace said, adding, “Our intention is to protect them … these days, the ability to keep cables and pipelines safe. We are pleased to announce our commitment to two specialty vessels with

He said that by the end of 2022 the Royal Navy will have purchased a “multi-purpose research vessel for subsea warfare” and that it will be kitted and fully operational by the end of 2023.

The second was to be built from scratch at a British shipyard, but may not be operational for several years.

In January, the head of the British military, Admiral Tony Ladakin, said Russian submarines posed a major threat to the undersea cables that transmit internet data around the world.

Ladakin, the former Chief of the Royal Navy, told The Times of London that there has been a “tremendous increase in Russian submarine and underwater activity” over the past two decades.

In December 2021, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland lost part of its sonar after colliding with a pursuing Russian submarine in the Arctic.

In a speech at the conference, Wallace backed Prime Minister Liz Truss’ pledge to invest 3% of Britain’s GDP in defense by 2030 and called on Labor leader Sir Kiel Sturmer to deliver on that pledge. Did.

“As you know, Mr. Sturmer, investing in defense and supporting our military requires a lot more than waving the Union Jack. We actually need to fund them. “We really have to recognize that as the threat changes, so must the investment,” the Secretary of Defense told the audience.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.