The Royal Navy will have a spy ship in 2024 capable of monitoring Russian activities on submarine communication cables

The UK Defense Strategic Review provides for the construction of a surveillance vessel, the main task of which is to monitor the submarine communication cables before there is any chance Russian submarines spy on them.

The ship, which appears twice in the document submitted to the House of Commons a few days ago, is named Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship or MROSS (Multirole Ocean Surveillance Ship). This ship, which should be ready in 2024, will have, among other things, the protection of critical submarine infrastructures in the UK.

It was the same Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace, who drew attention to this situation and warned that if we lose national infrastructures and the cables are incredibly important, the lights would go out. Further affirms that Russia has a keen interest in the communications cables that connect the UK to the world, infrastructures that are very exposed. Suffice it to remember that, despite the constellation of satellites in the sky, the submarine communications network is responsible for more than 90 percent of international communications.

To take on the task of protecting submarine communications, the MROSS will be equipped with advanced sensors, mini-submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles (unmanned surface ships or UPS). Equipped with a crew of 15, it will monitor installations in UK and international waters. According to a brief reference included in the strategic review above, the ship will be built in Scotland and may serve as a replacement for one of the Royal Navy’s surveillance vessels, HMS Scott.

Russia has submarines in service that are officially designated for investigation, such as the Losharik, which are suspected of being used to sabotage or monitor international communication systems. (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: HMS Scott is being replaced by the new MROSS (Royal Navy)

The symbol assigned to MROSS on one of the charts in the UK White Paper (UK Department of Defense)

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