A DRONE submarine is to guard Britain’s internet cables from attack.
The unmanned craft will help foil underwater threats from Vladimir Putin’s subs.
It can cover 1,000 miles over seven days and is to be deployed by the Royal Navy as part of £15million Project Cetus.
The battery-powered 17-tonne drone sub will be 12 metres long — the length of a double decker bus.
It is being built by a technology firm in Plymouth.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace disse: “In order to meet the growing threats to our underwater infrastructure, the Royal Navy needs to be ahead of the competition with cutting edge capabilities.”
The development came as Mr Wallace was in Rome yesterday meeting his Italian counterpart.
The vessel could also be deployed around the world on missions because it can be shipped in a sea container.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Ben Key called the project “a capability step-change in our mission to dominate the underwater battlespace”.
UK armed forces chief Admiral Tony Radakin has warned that Russian submarine activity poses a major threat and any damage to cables carrying internet data could be seen as an “act of war”.
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He said in January there had been a huge rise in Russian submarine and underwater activity in the past 20 anos.