Royal Navy scrambles to intercept Russian armada stalking UK

Russia fire Kalibr cruise missiles during Black Sea Navy drill

A warship has been deployed by the Royal Navy to keep tabs on Russian ships operating close to British waters, with defence insiders believing Vladimir Putin is purposely sending a message to London days before King Charles III’s Coronation. The Type 23 frigate, armed with harpoon anti-ship missiles, is on its way to the North Sea to tail the ships, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

In total five warships, plus two support vessels, have been spotted, all of which are equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles.

A UK defence source said told The Sun: “We are aware of a small number of Russian vessels which are exercising around the UK and are monitoring the situation closely.”

Russian warships had gathered in the sea from multiple bases in a deliberate show of force, the source suggested.

The RAF also scrambled Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, together with Norwegian and US allies, with record numbers of world leaders heading for London for Saturday’s ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

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The Russian flotilla also consists of the Vice-Admiral Kulakov, Admiral Grigorovich, both of which are frigates, Sbrazitelnyy, Stoikiy and Odintsovo, all corvettes, Grebelsky, a tug and Kama, a tanker.

The Kalibr has a range of up to 1,500 miles, and can carry 1,100lb of conventional explosives or a thermonuclear warhead, the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies’ ‘Missile Threat’ data base says.

A Royal Navy spokesman told “We monitor activity within UK waters and its Economic Exclusion Zone, routinely providing a suitable presence to counter and deter threats.”

On Sunday RAF Typhoons were scrambled to intercept a Russian spy plane flying near UK airspace.

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The Tu-142 aircraft flew in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic Ocean north of Scotland – although at now point did it actually enter UK airspace.

Earlier this week Wildcat helicopters teamed up with Norwegian missile craft and fast-moving Royal Navy patrol boats in a fortnight-long series of exercises aimed at testing out new missile systems in the seas around Haakonsvern naval base, southwest of Bergen.

Lieutenant Commander Sammy Haynes, Senior Observer of 815 Naval Air Squadron and Detachment Commander for the exercise, said: “Undertaking high end warfighting exercises with JEF partners not only improves our operational capability, it also allows us to exploit each other’s strengths.

“This exchange of skills, information, and local knowledge has allowed all parties involved to further develop tactics and procedures; far improving their effectiveness in this different, exciting and challenging environment.”

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