Russian submarines spotted off British coast in latest Putin offensive

Russian submarines spotted off BRITISH COAST in latest Putin offensive

RUSSIA is sending three powerful submarines capable of bombing the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.

While the world condemns the flotilla of Russian surface battleships on its way to the east Mediterranean, it is the submarines that will unleash deadly metal rain on Syria’s last rebel stronghold, experts warn.

The news comes as tensions between London and Moscow escalate following Britain’s decision to deploy tanks, fighter aircraft and up to 800 troops to Baltic war games. 

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was last night tracking two of the boats in the Irish Sea.

They are expected to join the task force, headed by Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, on Monday.

It is not the first time Russia has used its silent weapons of destruction to attack Syrian soil.

In December last year its Military Maritime Fleet successfully trialled the first firing of cruise missiles from a submarine, when the Kilo-class ‘Rostov-on-Don’ launched four Kalibr missiles, with a 4,000 km range, on ISIS targets. 

It is not ISIS, however, that is expected to be the target of this newest deployment, but rather Aleppo, where 270,000 civilians remain trapped with no hope of escape.

One reason is for its Syrian operations, but the other is so that it can dominate the Black Sea

Chris Perry

Sources revealed that two Akula-class attack submarines, armed with the same Kalibr land attack cruise missile system, were “pinged” by a Royal Navy Trafalgar-class submarine as they sailed through the Irish Sea.

The boats, made famous by the blockbuster “Hunt for Red October” starring Sean Connery, are usually based at Severmorsk, near Murmansk.

They sail as part of the Northern Fleet, formerly known as the “Red Banner” fleet after an honour it was bestowed during the height of the Cold War in 1965.

A third, a Kilo-class submarine from the same fleet, crept through the English Channel after being spotted by a Norwegian P3 Maritime Patrol aircraft while it surfaced. 

While slower than their nuclear-powered counterparts , Russia’s Kilo class submarines are said to be the quietest diesel-electric submarines in the world, and are primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare. 

All three have been shadowed off the South West approaches by the Royal Navy submarine, which boasts Russian-speaking technicians in its crew and tracked them in a six-hour contact.

It has since been joined by another Nato submarine.

“In the South West approaches, the Russian submarines made it clear that they wanted us to know they were there. Then, after a period of time, they went deep. They were located once more with support from a Nato partner,” said a naval source.

Russian premier Vladimir Putin sent a clear statement of ‘strategic power’ when he ordered his carrier group to sail through the English Channel.

But the surface fleet may be a potential distraction.

“The Akula attack submarines are the real strike force, and the Kilo boat can operate in the shallower waters of the Black Sea,” added the source last night. 

“They have been kitted with the new Kalibr cruise missile. While the Admiral Kuznetsov will be the main focus of attention, it is submarines that will provide the strike capability."

Submarines are the “Crown Jewels” of the Russia’s navy. Conscripts have been replaced by professional, all-volunteer crews and they have enjoyed increased funding while other military budgets are being cut.