VIDEO: Russian submarine hits Royal Navy warship during chase

A Russian submarine collided with a Royal Navy warship’s sonar while on patrol in the North Atlantic, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed. 

HMS Northumberland had been tracking the Russian submarine in the Arctic Circle when the collision occurred in late 2020. The Royal Navy frigate was reportedly forced to return to port in Scotland for repairs after the incident. 

The Russian submarine hit and damaged the warship’s towed array sonar – a sensor spooled out by a ship and used for listening underwater – which was being trailed hundreds of metres behind the warship. 

The incident, which happened in late 2020, was captured by a television crew filming a documentary for the third series of the Channel Five TV documentary Warship: Life at Sea. Watch a video clip below:

In the video, the crew can be heard asking: “What have I just hit?” and “What the hell was that?” as alarms sound in the background. 

The MoD, which does not usually comment on its operations, has revealed details of the collision because the incident was caught on camera. 

A UK defence source told the BBC that it was unlikely the collision was deliberate.

A Russian Akula class submarine

The MoD said a periscope was spotted on the surface by the ship’s helicopter before the Russian submarine dived, hitting HMS Northumberland’s sonar.

Russian submarine activity has reportedly increased tenfold in the North Atlantic in recent years, and Royal Navy frigates regularly patrol in the area.

An MoD spokesman says: “In late 2020 a Russian submarine being tracked by HMS Northumberland came into contact with her towed array sonar.

“The Royal Navy regularly tracks foreign ships and submarines in order to ensure the defence of the United Kingdom.”

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