A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine cruised within 200 miles of the East Coast recently in the latest sign Russia is continuing to flex its naval and aerial power against the United States, defense officials said.
The submarine was identified by its NATO designation as a Russian Seirra-2 class submarine believed to be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet. It was the first time that class of Russian submarine had been detected near a U.S. coast, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of anti-submarine warfare efforts.
One defense official said the submarine was believed to have been conducting anti-submarine warfare efforts against U.S. ballistic and cruise missile submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia.
“A Russian AGI and an SSN in the same geographic area as one of the largest U.S. ballistic missile submarine bases—Kings Bay—is reminiscent of Cold War activities of the Soviet navy tracking the movements of our SSBN’s,” said a third U.S. official, referring to the designation for ballistic missile submarines, SSBN.
“While I can’t talk about how we detected it, I can tell you that things worked the way they were supposed to,” the second official said, stating that the Russian submarine “poses no threat whatsoever.”
The U.S. Navy deploys a series of underwater sonar sensors set up at strategic locations near the United States that detected the submarine sometime late last month.
The submarine is currently believed to be in international waters several hundred miles from the United States.
Naval analyst Miles Yu, writing in the newsletter Geostrategy Direct, stated that Russia announced in February it is stepping up submarine patrols in strategic waters around the world in a throwback to the Soviet period.
“On June 1 or a bit later we will resume constant patrolling of the world’s oceans by strategic nuclear submarines,” Russian Navy Commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky was quoted as saying Feb. 3.
Richard Fisher, a military analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said Russian submarine patrols in the Atlantic have been reduced but remain “regular.”
“As was their primary mission during the Cold War, Russian SSNs [nuclear attack submarines] would likely be trying to track U.S. nuclear missile submarines deploying from Kings Bay, Ga., and to monitor U.S. naval deployments from Norfolk, Va.,” Fisher said in an email.
The submarine deployment followed stepped-up Russian nuclear bomber activity near U.S. borders last summer, including the transit of two Bear-H strategic bombers near the Alaska air defense zone during Russian strategic bomber war games in arctic in late June.
Then on July 4, in an apparent Fourth of July political message, a Russian Bear-H flew the closest to the U.S. West Coast that a Russian strategic bomber had flown since the Cold War when such flights were routine.
Full article: Russian Sub Skirts Coast (Washington Free Beacon)