The Royal Navy will deploy a “spy ship” to stop Russian submarines sabotaging Britain’s internet.
Due in service by 2024 the Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship will help protect critical national infrastructure such as undersea cables which carry trillions of dollars of financial transfers each day and transmit 97% of the world’s global communications.
Russian spy ship Belgorod, which acts as mother ship for a tech-tampering mini-submarine called Losharik is thought to be the biggest threat to Britain’s undersea cables.
It comes as part of a move which will see SAS soldiers told to disrupt Russian meddling around the world as part of a revamp of our defences.
British forces spearheaded by a deadly new-look Royal Marines Commando force will be deployed in more hotspots globally than before aiming to tackle the growing threat of terrorism and soaring espionage from Russia, China, and Iran.
The Royal Marines – to be deployed on missions previously done by special forces Elite commandos – are being re-tasked with their Second World War “red on navy” commando insignia on their arms, marking a return to their role behind enemy lines.
They would deploy in small raiding units, disrupting and “softening up” enemy positions before the main attack comes from regular troops.
The new crack squad is being announced despite fears Army numbers will be slashed by up to 10,000.
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Today’s long-awaited defence Command Paper is likely to reveal four infantry battalions are being axed and that tanks and fighting vehicles are being ditched.
MoD sources say a “streamlined, leaner and meaner” military will be more “forward leaning globally.”
Defence Secretary Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “From striking terrorists in Iraq, or disrupting drug shipments in the Baltics, our Armed Forces already reach where others cannot.”
But Labour warned the MoD must not “balance the books on the backs of regular” troops by cutting pay as inflation could mean a cut for non-officers.
Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said: “Ministers need to ensure our Forces personnel are properly rewarded for protecting our country.”