Russia is planning to hold a live fire naval exercise off the southwest coast of Ireland in early February.
The number of warships taking par tis not yet known but the location for the exercise is around 240km off the southwest cost of Ireland in international waters but within Ireland’s maritime economic zone.
Twitter user Robert Gilbey posted an image showing the location of the exercise.
Time for another thread.
A live fire Russian naval exercise has been scheduled inside the Irish EEZ, at a time when tensions on Russian military build ups relative to Ukraine are high.
What do we know and what can we speculate on? pic.twitter.com/y6KA66mlry
— Robert Gilbey (@RobGilbey) January 22, 2022
Rob goes into great detail on his Twitter post, you can find that here.
Spokesperson on defence for her party, TD Sorca Clarke, said that successive Irish governments have failed to invest in an “over-stretched” Irish Defence Forces.
“I am deeply concerned that Russia is to conduct a missile test off the coast of Co Cork in the first week of February. Our own Defence Forces staffing levels have been impacted by reducing numbers over the last number of years and it is an area of concern repeatedly highlighted by representative bodies.”
Ms Clarke was also quoted as saying that that a lack of primary radar “is the reason other state entities have been probing our airspace for years with high-altitude bombers and escorts. These foreign aircraft can see us but we cannot see them.”
Ireland should ‘end reliance on UK’ for air defence say Irish commentators
Irish experts previously advised that Irish defence was now approaching a “critical decision point” in respect of its long-term direction.
Ireland must invest in its air, sea and cybersecurity to fend off threats from hostile states, such as Russia, a number of military officers and academics had said.
Writing in the Irish Defence Forces ‘Defence Review 2020‘, Commandant Derek McGourty said:
“There have been further incursions by Russian military aircraft into Irish airspace and reports of increasing Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic and Irish Sea, which have added to growing concerns about Ireland’s inability to protect its critical national infrastructure including transatlantic fibre-optic cables that lie in Irish coastal waters. The Irish Naval service has no anti-submarine capability and its ability to deter or even detect such maritime intelligence gathering is exceptionally limited. Neither has Ireland got the radar, air defence, and air interdiction capability necessary to deter and monitor Russian or other aircraft entering Irish airspace without permission and instead relies on the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force to carry out this task on its behalf.”
Why do British jets ‘protect’ Irish airspace?
Ireland lacks aircraft that can climb high enough or go fast enough to intercept Russian aircraft.
As a result, Ireland and the UK have an agreement to allow British combat aircraft to overfly the Republic.
The UK isn’t simply protecting Irish airspace as such, the agreement is mutually beneficial but more about that later.
Over the last decade Russian bombers have flown a series of provocative missions close to Ireland’s northern and western coasts – on occasion skirting extremely close to Irish airspace. A particularly noteworthy incident occurred in 2015, two Tu-95 bombers flew with their transponders turned off, just 40km off the coast.
According to local media, they criss-crossed into major civilian airline traffic lanes and the IAA was forced to divert commercial jets in mid-air or else prevent them from taking off to avoid potential collisions.
You can read more about this by clicking here or on the link above.