A Russian missile frigate armed with deadly hypersonic bombs is currently being tracked by the Royal Navy in the North Sea as it sails dangerously close to the UK. The HMS Portland is monitoring the Russian guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, accompanied by a 115-metre Russian-registered tanker, called Kama. The Royal Navy’s Portland set off from the UK with her specialist Merlin helicopter, which specialises in submarine hunting, to track and report on the movements of the two Russian ships through the North Sea.
The Type 23 frigate military vessel joined the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Bergen to track the Russian warship while it transitioned from the Norwegian Sea into the North Sea.
The Russian vessel is armed with the new Mach 9 nuclear-capable Zircon hypersonic missiles that travel at speeds of nearly 7,000mph, as well as Kalibr missiles.
Hypersonic missiles have been used multiple times in Ukraine, with three of the Kalibr model tearing through a shopping centre in the western city of Vinnytsia on July 14 last year, killing at least 20 people, including a four-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome, Liza Dmytriyeva, moments after she left her summer club.
Vladimir Putin has previously claimed the missiles have “no equivalent in the world”, with China and the USA locked in the three-way race to create the weapons.
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The Russian military vessel, which is around 135 metres long, is one of the most capable frigates in the world and is part of Putin’s latest fleet of warships.
While most frigates are capable of only one military function, the Admiral Gorkshov is the lead of a new Russian class of multi-role warships.
It can perform long-range attacks against other ships and surface targets, conduct anti-submarine warfare, carry out escort missions and, in some instances, can even substitute in for larger destroyers.
The HMS Portland, by comparison, is 133 metres long and specialises in submarine hunting and surface water operations.
The Royal Navy ship and its accompanying Merlin helicopter have both been equipped with cutting-edge sonars, sensors and torpedoes for special operations.
The Royal Navy ship departed her home port of Plymouth on Saturday on her latest patrol.
Commander Ed Moss-Ward, who leads HMS Portland, said on Thursday that the maintenance of a “visible and persistent presence” in the North Sea served as a means of ensuring “maritime security”.
The Navy released images of HMS Portland tracking the Russian vessels in the North Sea as early as Monday, suggesting the tracking mission has been underway for several days already.
Captain Igor Krohmal, the Admiral Gorshkov’s commanding officer, said the frigate had undergone a full training cycle before its deployment in December.
He added: “The ship has been loaded with Tsirkon and Kalibr missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes and artillery ammunition. The crew is ready to perform combat service tasks.”
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