UK calls on France & Canada to track down alleged Russian sub

© Vitaliy Ankov
Britain has once again been forced to call in foreign help after it says it spotted a Russian submarine off the west coast of Scotland. Despite the presence of French and Canadian patrol planes and Royal Navy ships, no trace of the sub has been found.

The alleged Russian vessel is believed to have been seen at least 10 days ago in the area, and the search to find the sub has been taking place ever since.

The only problem is, Britain scrapped its own £4 billion ($6 billion) fleet of Nimrod surveillance aircraft in 2010 as part of a cost cutting exercise. As a result it has been forced to call on France for assistance, which has provided an Atlantique 2 patrol plane for the search.

A Royal Navy frigate and a hunter-killer submarine have also been trying to find the elusive sub. However, it has proved to be so difficult to locate, London has had to plead for another Atlantique aircraft and a plane from Canada to join the search for the Russian vessel, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"We can confirm that allied maritime patrol aircraft based at RAF Lossiemouth for a limited period are conducting activity with the Royal Navy. We do not discuss the detail of maritime operations,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman said.

This is certainly not the first time London has had to beg for help from abroad due to its lack of technical expertise. In January, two American patrol planes were enlisted to search for submarines off the coast of Scotland.

The suspected presence of a Russian submarine was believed to be linked to the departure of a British nuclear submarine from the Faslane naval base at Gare Loch on the Firth of Clyde.

Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) defense spokesman, said the US deployment showed that Britain had resorted to going to its allies with a “begging bowl.”

Sweden accused a Russian submarine of allegedly entering its territorial waters in October, 2014 However, Stockholm was left red-faced in April after it was revealed the vessel spotted was actually just an average boat.

The massive hunt, in which the Swedish Navy reportedly used over 200 troops, helicopters, stealth ships and minesweepers, was later used by the Swedish Defense Ministry to justify a six-billion kronor ($696 million) hike in defense spending between 2016 and 2020.