THE Royal Navy’s top nuclear sub has arrived in Gibraltar and was pictured being loaded with missiles in what was perceived as a show of force amid escalating tensions with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
The HMS Audacious, one of the UK’s newest and deadliest submarines, docked alongside the USS Georgia, an American nuclear sub which arrived in port last week, prompting complaints from the Spanish government.
Analysts say it is highly unusual that two such vessels should dock in Gibraltar’s naval base at the same time and could be a deliberate show of strength to Putin.
The HMS Audacious is equipped with powerful weapon systems, which include Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.
The USS Georgia, a nuclear submarine carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of over two thousand kilometres, is on its way to the eastern Mediterranean.
Last week, Spain complained that the US had chosen to stopover on the Rock instead of the nearby naval base in Rota, which is only 141 km away.
The arrival of two nuclear subs has also prompted an immediate response from environmental group Verdemar, which said ‘the presence of the two submarines poses a risk to communities around the Bay of Gibraltar’ and called for a permanent ban on nuclear powered ships in the port.
“These submarines are authentic floating bombs and put our families and our environment at risk,” they said.
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