'Focus on the Baltic' as Britain doubles naval deployment to Nato


Britain is doubling its naval deployments to Nato in a move aimed a showing enemies that "we are ready to respond to any threat", the Defence Secretary has announced.

Around 400 navy personnel will be involved as warships are sent to sea, Michael Fallon will tell international counterparts at a meeting in Brussels.

The increase in deployments will show that the UK is ready to defend its allies, according to the Cabinet minister.

HMS Iron Duke, a Type 23 Frigate, will operate in the Baltic Sea until July and a Type 45 Destroyer will be deployed in October and November.

Mr Fallon will say: "Increasing our Nato deployments sends a strong message to our enemies that we are ready to respond to any threat, and defend our allies.

"2016 will see a particular focus on the Baltic region with our ships sent there as part of the Maritime Group, the Mine Counter Measure Group and the Baltops exercise."

The navy is also deploying three mine sweepers with around 130 personnel for Nato operations in the Baltic Sea, North Atlantic, North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

It will also send two frigates to anti-submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Mongoose and the UK's largest warship, HMS Ocean, to exercise Baltops in the Baltic region later this year, the Ministry of Defence said.