‘Isil missiles could bomb Portsmouth’

An aerial photograph of Portsmout'sh dockyard and naval base
An aerial photograph of Portsmout'sh dockyard and naval base
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth this week. HMS Somerset was tracking her through British waters

Navy boss admits Russian activity in British waters is now the ‘new norm’

  • Former navy commander says UK’s air defences could leave city vulnerable to terror attacks
  • However Portsmouth council boss says there’s nothing to worry about and that she was ‘confident’ the city was protected
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PORTSMOUTH could be at risk of being bombed by Isil, a former navy chief has said.

Commander Graham Edmonds has claimed there are gaps in the UK’s missile defences – weaknesses he says could be exploited by Islamist extremists.

I am confident Portsmouth is protected as best as it possibly can be from any terror attack and there is nothing for residents to worry about.

Councillor Donna Jones, Portsmouth City Council leader

But city council leader Donna Jones said there is nothing to worry about.

‘Britain has one of the most sophisticated and advanced militaries in the world,’ she told The News.

‘Being a member of Nato and the United Nations affords us a great deal of support against terror attack.

‘I’m confident Portsmouth is protected as best as it possibly can be from any terror attack and there is nothing for residents to worry about.’

Mr Edmonds said terrorists were intent on securing tactical ballistic missiles that could be fired at the UK.

He admitted the prospect of this threat ever becoming a reality was highly unlikely.

But, if jihadists were able to capture long-range missiles, he said the UK had no defences of its own to destroy the deadly explosives.

Mr Edmonds, who is vice-chairman of the Portsmouth-based armed forces campaign group UK National Defence Association, said: ‘Naval bases like Portsmouth could be attacked as they don’t have their own defences.

‘We are relying on everyone else like the United States to provide us with ballistic missile defence.’

He added: ‘They (the terrorists) are nutters and complete head-bangers.

‘If you can behead 200 people in an afternoon then you will think nothing of firing a ballistic missile to western Europe.’

Currently, the United States provides ballistic air defences for western Europe.

However, in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) the UK’s government said it would ‘commit significant funds’ to the Nato Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) network.

The £178bn announcement added the government would support research and development initiatives through the UK’s Missile Defence Centre.

‘We will invest in a ground-based BMD radar, which will enhance the coverage and effectiveness of the Nato BMD system,’ it said.

‘We will also investigate further the potential of the Type 45 destroyers to operate in a BMD role.’

A source at the Royal Navy added it was not appropriate to comment on matters of national security.