Russian ship reportedly fitted with 'vomit-inducing weapon' part of task group shadowed past Hartlepool coast

HMS Defender. Picture issued by the Royal Navy
HMS Defender. Picture issued by the Royal Navy

One of the Russian ships shadowed by the Royal Navy as it passed by our coastline was reportedly fitted with a 'nausea-inducing' weapon.

We reported yesterday how the Royal Navy's HMS Defender, which was spotted from South Shields last weekend, had been dispatched to shadow a Russian task group sighted in Scotland and heading for the English Channel.

HMS Defender. Picture issued by the Royal Navy

HMS Defender. Picture issued by the Royal Navy

The Russian group comprises the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, tug Nicolay Chiker, supply ship Elbrus and tanker Kama.

Our sister paper The Scotsman reported the Gorshkov is believed to be fitted with Russia’s Filin 5P-42 device – a “visual optical interference” weapon which can cause “dizziness, nausea and feelings of disorientation”.

It is aimed at disabling the capabilities of enemy soldiers and can make them want to vomit, according to Russian state media.

The vessel is believed to have been sheltering from storms, according to The Scotsman, and remained in international waters.

Russian media later claimed the frigate conducted “air defence and counter sabotage exercises” in the Moray Firth north of RAF Lossiemouth, before continuing on its journey to the Mediterranean, The Scotsman reported.

HMS Defender

The Portsmouth-based Defender is monitoring the Russian task group and keeping track of their activity "in areas of national interest".

She left the Tyne on Saturday March 2 to head north east of Scotland and meet the Russian task group in time for them to pass the UK coastline on Tuesday, and will continue to escort the Russian naval task group this week as it passes through the English Channel.

While in the Tyneside area, HMS Defender was was conducting training exercises with her embarked helicopter and sea boats, and spent some time moored up the river at Newcastle.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster, said: “The Royal Navy is always standing ready to defend the UK. Don’t do the everyday, everyday.

“We will continue to work with our allies to shadow Russian ships passing through international waters close to our shores, to ensure the Russian navy follows the correct protocol on its journey.”

While in the Tyneside area, HMS Defender was was conducting training exercises with her embarked helicopter and sea boats, and spent some time moored up the river at Newcastle.

Commander Richard Hewitt, the Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, said: “The security of the seas around our coastline remains crucial to our national interests.

“Escorting the Admiral Gorshkov has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required.”

The Ministry of Defence said, as a fleet unit preparing to deploy on operations, HMS Defender stands ready to respond to a wide range of short notice tasks.

These can range from search and rescue duties to maritime security patrols.

She is equipped with a Wildcat helicopter of Yeovilton-based 815 Naval Air Squadron. The Sampson radar system on top of the ship’s main mast can track hundreds of contacts in the skies from hundreds of miles away.

Her Sea Viper missile system can then intercept those targets at four times the speed of sound.

What is Admiral Gorshkov and what type of ship is she?

Much like how the Royal Navy have HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Russian Navy have a brand new warship they are keen to show off.

Her full name is Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov (or Адмира́л фло́та Сове́тского Сою́за Горшко́в in Cyrillic) and she officially entered service in July 2018.

The Soyuza Gorshkov is a frigate and is the lead ship in the Admiral Gorshkov-class – a new class of ships in the Russian naval fleet.

She was laid down in 2006 and was launched in October 2010.

Originally Admiral Gorshkobv was due to join the navy in 2013, however this was pushed back to November 2015 following construction delays.

An engine fire caused the ship to spend a full year in a quay, she eventually entered the Russian Navy on July 28, 2018 a day before making her debut in the Naval Day parade, which is a national holiday in the country.

This is not the first time the Russian frigate has ventured close to British territorial waters.

During her sea trials Admiral Gorshkov sailed near UK waters in the North Sea between December 23 and December 25, 2017.

The Royal Navy sent HMS St Albans to shadow her during this incident.

What is the rumoured 'vomit weapon'?

According to rumours, the Russian navy have developed weapons that can make their enemies vomit and even hallucinate.

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The Hill reported in February that contractors had installed the weapons on two warships including Admiral Gorshkov.

It is said that the weapon fires a beam similar to a strobe light which can affect the targets eyesight.

The weapon can make it harder for enemies to see at night and during tests about half of volunteers reported feeling dizzy, nauseous and disoriented.