Russia Sends Ten Subs Into North Atlantic in Drill Unprecedented in Size Since Cold War
Russia Sends Ten Subs Into North Atlantic in Drill Unprecedented in Size Since Cold War by Tyler Rogoway via Check Point Asia
The most extensive Russian underwater exercise since the end of the Cold Waris currently underway in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. No less than 10 Russian Navy submarines are reported to be involved, eight of which are nuclear powered, according to Norwegian intelligence.
The massive exercise is thought to include tests of new weapons and stressing of capabilities of individual classes of submarines involved, including long-duration, deeply submerged operations. The exercise is also likely to test U.S. and NATO forces’ ability to track Russia’s most capable boats as they push through the Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom Gap, better known as the GIUK Gap—a major strategic bottleneck that is closely monitored. If Russian submarines can break through undetected, they have a far better chance of disappearing into the Atlantic to go about their potentially very deadly business without being traced. During a time of war, this can include wreaking havoc on Allied shipping and naval flotillas and executing pinpoint attacks on key land targets.
Norwegian news outlet NRK, which originally broke the story, states that Norwegian intelligence thinks it has a decent idea of where at least some of the submarines currently are, but this could change as the exercise could last as long as two months. The Barents Observer has the areas listed:
- Two nuclear submarines are west of the Bear Island, between Svalbard and Finnmark, the northernmost part of mainland Norway.
- Two submarines are south and east of the Bear Island, guarding the entrance to the eastern part of the Barents Sea.
- Two Sierra class nuclear submarines are training in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea.
The Sierra II class is among Russia’s most capable fast attack submarines, with their titanium hulls capable of withstanding greater depths than their steel counterparts. They are known to be extremely quiet, as well.
Also noted by NRK are the assumed goals of the large-scale drill (translated):
“The goal for some of the submarines is to get as far out into the Atlantic as possible without being discovered. The entire voyage from the Northern Fleet bases in the Murmansk region has been submerged… Russia’s goal is to show that they are able to threaten the US East Coast… Russia wants to say that “this is our sea”, we can do this. We are able to reach the United States… They want to test the West’s ability to detect and handle this…”