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UK buys ship to protect submarine fiber optic and power cables.

Published: 2023-01-24

The UK Department of Defense has purchased a vessel to protect submarine fiber optic and power cables in British waters from damage. The department announced plans to acquire two multi-purpose surveillance ships (MROS) back in March 2021. It is noted that in connection with the purchase of these ships, the government has postponed the implementation of the project to build a royal yacht.

The 98m long and 6,000t displacement MV Topaz Tangaroa, bought last month from Topaz Marine for £70m ($86.5m), will be handed over to the Royal Navy. In the future, the ship will be converted to conduct surveillance and ensure the security of the national infrastructure. The ship will enter service this summer. The timing of the acquisition of the second MROS vessel has not yet been reported.

The ship was chosen in accordance with the requirements of the Royal Navy. It is equipped with a helipad, a crane, a large working deck, and a shaft for launching underwater vehicles. It was built in 2019 for use in a variety of subsea operations, including oil platform work, construction, maintenance and inspection work, and autonomous submarine operations.

The ship will be renamed RFA Proteus and equipped with advanced sensors. It will be capable of carrying multiple remote-controlled or autonomous underwater drones. The crew of the ship will be 15 people. In addition, 60 Royal Navy specialists will operate underwater surveillance systems, as well as other monitoring and combat systems.