Cold War-era type 'wargames' are being played out off the southwest coast of Ireland as British, French, and US forces converged to monitor the start of what's believed to be a five-day Russian navy exercise.
The Irish Naval Service also had ships monitoring the Russian exercise, bolstered by aerial surveillance supplied by the Air Corps.
The Russians were originally supposed to conduct their exercise around 240km south-west coast, in an area within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
However, they changed their minds last week after much furore from politicians and local fishermen.
The latter was seriously concerned that missile-firing exercises would kill off more of their ever-depleting fish stocks in the region.
Some military experts believe the proposed deployment within our EEZ was a Russian ruse, and they never intended to conduct their exercise there.
It's believed they're trying to make a point, highlighting we're the weakest link in terms of NATO and EU military defences - being neutral, with seriously underfunded Defence Forces - and had always planned to conduct the exercise outside our EEZ.
The reason there's a gathering of 'Western Forces' is the initial exercise was to be directly over transatlantic submarine cables daily carrying intelligence information and millions of financial transactions between North America and Europe.
The Russians have moved the exercise slightly outside our EEZ, but still have at least two warships sitting over the cables, with a supply ship standing nearby.
The Defence Forces have confirmed they've observed US, Russian and French vessels in international waters off the southwest coast.
It's also believed that some of these nations, as well as the British, have submarines also located in the general area to keep a close eye on the Russian exercise, especially as they're concerned the Russians may be preparing to cut the vital cables in the event a major conflict breaks out over the 'Ukrainian situation.'
The Air Corps have also monitored the presence of Royal Air Force (RAF) jets there, probably in response to Russian 'Bear' bombers flying excursions in the last few days down the North Atlantic.
It is believed the bombers were heading towards Ireland before they were intercepted by the RAF jets and turned back.
In a statement, the Defence Forces said the foreign naval vessels are transmitting on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and are outside Irish Territorial Waters.
“This activity is in line with the UN Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS) rules for transit through International Waters. Territorial Waters are 12 nautical miles from the coast of Ireland and under UNCLOS, there is no restriction on warships operating on the High Seas inside and outside of Exclusive Economic Zones,” the statement added.