The 71,650-ton Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is the largest warship ever built in Britain and undergoing tests at sea since it left the Rosyth shipyard in Scotland in June 2017.
Commodore Andrew Betton, commander of the UK Attack Airborne Group, said that other Royal Navy warships forming part of the formation will protect the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier from the so-called “Russian threat” during upcoming sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean.
“The Russian submarines are more active in the North Atlantic than they have been since the Cold War and we take this very seriously,” Betton told the UK news network ITV .
Betton added that the measure is not aimed at confrontation because the task force is just heading to the “East Coast of the United States to conduct tests.”
His opinion is shared by captain Jerry Kyd, commander of the aircraft carrier, who stressed that “the increase in Russian activity we have seen in the past two years is frightening and, for national security reasons, we only emphasize the need to maintain a balanced fleet, solid and capable.”
“It has been quite mind-boggling what we have seen in the last two years,” Kyd said, promising to “operate professionally and within the standard laws of the high seas, acting in international waters to take care of our interests.”
The two commanders’ comments were voiced as the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier prepares to leave the Portsmouth naval base to cross the Atlantic with its mission to conduct flight tests and arrive in New York.
In late May, UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson accused Moscow of aggressive measures, using the alleged pretext of the “Russian threat” as an argument to urge the UK government to increase funding for the modernization of the Royal Navy.
He claimed that Russia’s submarine activity increased tenfold in the North Atlantic and that the Royal Navy ostensibly reacted 33 times to Russian naval ships approaching the territorial waters of the United Kingdom.
In turn, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed that Russian naval activity in the area is fully in line with international standards.
In February, Williamson, known for his anti-Russian statements, reinforced the need to modernize the UK Air Force because of the need to counter the threats allegedly coming from Russia.