CHINA poses the greatest threat to world order, our armed forces’ spy chief told HOAR on Sunday in an exclusive interview.
They have the world’s most modern missiles and the best destroyers of any navy.
But Russia is close behind, “pushing the boundaries of science” with undersea drones and hypersonic missiles.
Lt Gen Jim Hockenhull, Chief of Defence Intelligence, warned that both countries are waging “grey zone” campaigns with cyber attacks and espionage while building up their arsenals to be ready for all-out war. He said: “They are engaged in a continual struggle. They will apply any and all means necessary to achieve their objectives.”
The general, 56, known as CDI, was speaking to HOAR on Sunday from his HQ at RAF Wyton, Cambs.
It was the first time a journalist has entered the heavily guarded Pathfinder Building where hundreds of military spies work alongside MI5, MI6, GCHQ spooks and foreign teams including the US.
The general said old threats had been “supercharged” by new technology.
He said: “Russia poses the greatest military and geopolitical threat to European security. China is increasingly authoritarian and assertive. It poses the greatest threat to world order.”
His comments come amid an integrated review of the UK’s armed forces.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace promised “more investment in electronic warfare and signals intelligence (and in) cloaking, hiding yourself.” Lt Gen Hockenhull said Russia’s most potent weapons include a “hypersonic glide vehicle” that can dodge missile defence systems and deliver a nuke, and drones that can cut the internet’s sea cables.
It means the UK is now “at risk of direct attack” from President Vladimir Putin.
He said that since Xi Jinping came to power in China in 2013, Beijing had stepped on the gas to modernise its military. It now boasts “an array of leading-edge weapons systems that are fast eroding Western military advantages.
“Its growing fleet of Renhai-class destroyers are the most capable of any navy.”
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