From my morning sub news briefing:
Steph Cockroft For Mailonline, Jan 9
Ministry of Defence forced to ask US for help in search for Russian submarine thought to be lurking off North Atlantic coast
American P3 Orion planes deployed this week on trail of mystery vessel Aircraft carrying out patrols alongside Royal Navy Frigate, HMS Somerset Sighting said to be linked to Vanguard submarine's exit from Faslane base Experts say planes bridge 'gaping chasm' in UK anti-submarine capability RAF scrapped Nimrod in 2010, amid warning it would weaken UK defences
The Ministry of Defence has been forced to ask the US for help as it hunts for a suspected Russian submarine believed to be lurking off the coast of Scotland.
Two U.S Navy aircraft were this week drafted in to carry out patrols in the North Atlantic in a bid to bridge the 'gaping chasm' in Britain's anti-submarine capability.
It comes after the RAF's £4bn fleet of 'spy-in-the-sky' Nimrod surveillance aircraft was controversially scrapped in 2010, amid warning it would weaken Britain's defences.
Experts said the latest request for assistance raises questions about the UK's ability to adequately protect its nuclear submarines.
And Angus Robertson, the Scottish National Party's defence spokesman, said the deployment showed Britain had resorted to going to its allies with a 'begging bowl'.
The U.S P3 Orion maritime patrol aeroplanes, which are currently based at RAF Lossiemouth, were deployed on the trail of the mystery vessel this week.
The crews worked alongside the Royal Navy's anti-submarine frigate HMS Somerset, which has been operating off Scotland for a month.
The emergence of the Russian submarine is said to be linked to the alleged departure from Faslane Naval base of one of the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class nuclear submarines, which carries Trident missiles.
The base, at Gare Loch on the River Clyde, is the home of the UK's ballistic missile submarines.
Peter Roberts, a senior fellow of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, told The Independent: 'HMS Somerset is a capable platform and I have no doubt that her deployment alongside these U.S Navy aircraft is related to the reported departure of a Royal Navy Vanguard ballistic missile submarine from Faslane, and the countering of any Russian deployment from over the horizon.'