Defence chiefs have ordered two new top secret spy ships to combat Russian submarines.
The specialist surveillance vessels will operate with new aircraft carriers and scan to ensure that the Kremlin’s – or Beijing’s –subs cannot hide at sea and monitor UK ships.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson let slip about the order when he announced a boost in Royal Navy spending last week.
The multi-million pound ships are needed to counter the growing threat of Russian nuclear submarines which are increasingly being spotted in UK waters.
Described as Multi-Role Research vessels, the new ships will be able to track and trace Moscow’s hi-tech new Belgorod and Yasen class submarines.
Carrying autonomous underwater mini-subs and a range of drones to assist in their role, the ships will be the most advanced surveillance vessels in the world, defence experts have claimed.
The ships’ jewel in the crown will be their new top secret computer systems featuring the ability to hunt Russian subs at a range of more 1,000 miles.
Mr Johnson said in his announcement: “We are going to develop the next generation of warships, including multi-role research vessels and Type 32 frigates. If there is one policy that strengthens the UK in every sense, it is building more Royal Navy ships.”
A senior source said: “No-one picked up on the research ships in Boris’s speech.
“They will give us a massive boost”.