Brexit flagship to be fitted with bomb-proof panic room – inside £ 200million ship | Politics | New
It comes amid growing threats that he could be the target of hackers, jihadist groups and terrorist organizations, including Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The £ 200million ship – which will be built in Britain to showcase ‘the UK’s burgeoning status as a great independent maritime trading nation’ – will be staffed by Royal Navy sailors and carry an armed protection team.
But last night, sources confirmed that its final design will include a so-called “NBC Citadel” – a bomb-proof room that will ensure the protection of royals, ministers and trade ambassadors in the event of an accident. ‘failure of other methods.
The fortress will be designed to carry a maximum of 25 people but will be able to accommodate more in its four bedrooms – which will include a kitchen and bathroom.
It will be rugged enough to protect against nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, contain a global communications suite and generate its own secure air supply for 24 hours, the sources added.
Although dubbed the new “royal yacht”, the 7,500-ton vessel will be a vessel rather than a luxury yacht, powered by diesel-electric engines and equipped with VIP suites, a conference center and a private bathroom. reception room large enough to accommodate 200 people.
With a length of 125 meters, it should also accommodate a flight deck large enough to land a Merlin or Chinook helicopter.
It will replace the HMY Britannia, presented to a young Queen Elizabeth in 1954 and which covered 1,087,623 nautical miles in 696 overseas visits and 272 domestic visits until decommissioned in 1994.
Like Britannia, the new ship will be escorted by a Royal Navy warship on overseas tours, following the decision not to produce a fully armed dual role military ship.
Sources confirmed this was to ensure that it would always be available for so-called “soft power operations” and, carrying only classified defensive capabilities, would be less likely to present itself as a military target to hostile nations.
Last week Downing Street’s suggestions that its full cost should be met by the cash-strapped Defense Department erupted into inter-ministerial junk.
It came after the government was forced to classify the yacht as a military vessel in order to circumvent WTO rules which stipulate that all civilian vessels must be open to tenders from other countries.
However, it was later confirmed that only the initial procurement process would be paid from the defense budget.
While further costs have yet to be allocated, the Royal Navy will still have to meet its annual running costs of £ 5million.
Last night, a senior naval source from Fleet Command confirmed that there has been a major spike in maritime terrorism since the last Royal Yacht left the operational fleet, and such threats will be of concern.
“Ships face an increased array of threats, from land-based missiles to attempted boarding and maritime drones,” the source said.
“Although the new yacht is unlikely to face any hostile situations, the decision was made to include the citadel.
“It will provide a highly secure space that is sealed against chemical and biological attacks. While the guests take shelter in this locked area, the captain and his team will have to operate in chemical warfare suits and respirators and move the ship out of danger at the best speed.
The inclusion of citadels is now considered best practice on merchant ships following an increase in piracy and other types of attacks.
In October last year, 22 crew members of the Liberian-flagged Nave Andromeda took refuge in a citadel when the ship was overrun by stowaways in the English Channel. The alleged hijacking ended when members of the SBS stormed the vessel.
Tom Chant, Managing Director of the Society of Maritime Industries, said: “The installation of citadels on board merchant ships and large yachts is standard safety practice, providing crews with a secure space with communication facilities and emergency supplies. “
Construction of the vessel is expected to begin as early as 2022 and it will enter service within the next four years.