Russian submarine hits sonar of British warship during North Atlantic pursuit


A Russian submarine collided with sonar from a British warship during a pursuit in the Arctic Circle.

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) first confirmed that the crash took place with the Royal Navy submarine in late 2020.

The Russian submarine struck HMS Northumberland’s towed sonar – a cable covered with hydrophones – which it was dragging hundreds of meters behind.

HMS Northumberland had tracked the submarine 200 miles north of Scotland before it disappeared from the ship’s radar.

The MOD rarely comments on operations, but did so because the crash was filmed while Channel 5 was filming for its Warship: Life at Sea series.

The ship’s crew spotted the submarine on the surface before it plunged back into the water.

Royal Navy submarine commander Thom Hobbs says in a clip: “We’re very close to the submarine, we’re probably parallel. If they were on the surface, we would certainly see faces.

The film crew then captures the moment of impact, before a crew member is heard shouting, “What did I just hit?”

The sonar was badly damaged and the ship had to return to port in Scotland for a replacement.

It is believed to be the first collision between Russian and British ships since the Cold War.

A UK defense source told the BBC that the collision was very unlikely to be deliberate.

A spokesperson for the MOD told the broadcaster: “At the end of 2020, a Russian submarine followed by HMS Northumberland made contact with its towed sonar.

“The Royal Navy regularly tracks foreign ships and submarines in order to defend the UK.

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