A British warship has hit a Russian submarine in an intense North Atlantic chase it was revealed tonight. Moscow’s hunter-killer submarine – which has the capability to carry nuclear-tipped missiles – travelled into a sonar line being towed by HMS Northumberland as the warship was conducted a search for the unauthorised vessel.
Sources say it may have been the first collision between Russian and Royal Navy vessels since the end of the Cold War, reports The Mirror. The British Type 23 frigate had been scrambled to search for the hunter-killer sub after reports came in of it being in the waters around 200 miles north of Scotland.
The warship let down its towed array sonar – a cable covered in hydrophones, made for underwater location – to listen for the Russian submarine and its movement. However, the crew had to abort the mission as the thick cable “dragged over the submarine’s hull”.
“It was badly chewed up and unusable” after the collision, a source told The Sun newspaper. Former frigate captain Tom Sharpe said: “The question is was it deliberate or was it an accident!”
An MoD spokesman said: “In late 2020 a Russian submarine being tracked by HMS Northumberland came into contact with her towed array sonar.”
It is believed that both vessels were damaged in the collision.