HMS Queen Elizabeth chases away Chinese spy submarine

The Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth has tracked down and chased off a Chinese spy submarine, in footage captured by documentary makers.

A two-minute-long excerpt from a BBC documentary shows how naval officers aboard the aircraft carrier discovered the foreign vessel using state of the art sonobuoys.

Sonobuoys are small sonar devices dropped into the water to pick up engine and propeller sounds from submarines.  

Officers are seen rapidly deploying a helicopter which drops another payload of sonobuoys into the water to accurately triangulate the vessel.

The Chinese vessel is then tracked skulking away from the warship.

One naval officer says to the camera: “So what we thought was a submarine, is now definitely a submarine. It’s not a whale.

“If this had been in a different scenario, a conflict situation it would have proven that we’d have detected something, in ample time, protected the main body of the carrier.

“Then you could have started a weapon chain against the submarine that was detected to neutralise the threat.

“So we beat them to draw.”

Enemy submarines will often lie underneath commercial fishing vessels, on the very edge of Britain’s 12-mile nautical border, and use the roar of the ship’s engines to mask their presence.

In November, the Chinese deployed a new generation of long-range ballistic missiles on nuclear submarines capable of hitting the US from the safety of its own waters.

All six of China’s nuclear-powered submarines have been equipped with new JL-3 missiles, which reportedly have a range of up to 7,500 miles, dramatically increasing China’s ability to strike US territory.

The previous version, the JL-2, had a range of up to 4,500 miles, which limited their range from Chinese waters to parts of Alaska, meaning the submarines carrying them would have had to reach the ocean near Hawaii to threaten the US east coast.

The Warship: Tour of Duty can be seen on BBC 2 on Sunday at 9pm

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