Russia Sends Ten Subs Into North Atlantic in Drill Unprecedented in Size Since Cold War

The most extensive Russian underwater exercise since the end of the Cold War is 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…”

Russian submarines could also flood into the GIUK Gap and the waters off Norway in a defensive posture to keep American submarines and surface combatants from pushing northward during a crisis. This would protect strategic Russian naval ports on the Barents Sea, Russia’s ballistic missile boats patrolling the northernmost latitudes and hiding under the polar icecap, and its increasingly strategic territorial holdings in the Arctic.

After decades of atrophy, the U.S. and its allies are slowly rebuilding their anti-submarine warfare capabilities in and around the GIUK Gap. Most notably, the US Navy has bolstered its detachment of P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that operate out of Iceland. The US Navy has also reactivated the 2nd Fleet and has greatly increased patrols and exercises in the North Atlantic.

Still, if a number of Russian submarines, including some of the country’s most elusive types, push south suddenly during the exercise, the U.S. and its allies may be very hard-pressed to keep track of all of them. This all comes at a time when America’s own submarine force is overtasked, as well. No matter how powerful a high-end nuclear fast attack submarine is, it can only be in one place at one time, and that place is the pier more often than not. Other U.S. and Allied naval assets with anti-submarine capabilities aren’t exactly in great supply either.

Source: The Drive

  1. Aurum Cimex says

    At least the US carriers are all safely in dock, wouldn’t want them in danger. At least half of the NATO ships that are at sea don’t work properly. I think Russia is making a statement.

  2. DarkEyes says

    It is quite sloppy to use a globe with U.S.S.R. displayed on it.
    I doubt the intentions of the reporter.

    FYI, USSR do not exist anymore since 1990.

    1. Mary E says

      I really do think that was the intent: Use USSR on a map instead of Russia makes it look and sound much more devious and malicious than just the real name of the country, ‘Russia’ would be.

      1. DarkEyes says

        Good point. Well said!

    2. ArcAngel says

      Agreed. Mr Rogoway is just another western hack.

    3. John Rourke says

      he probably thinks Russia is still communist too lol

  3. Terje M says

    The Integrity Initiative is alive and well in Norway, and have started a new media offensive recently.

    Now, by writing “Russian submarines could also flood into the GIUK Gap and the waters off Norway in a defensive posture to keep American submarines and surface combatants from pushing northward during a crisis.” they are actually revealing who is offensive and defensive in these northern waters.

    Don’t forget the US Marines, which is not exactly a defensive branch, have built several new bases in Norway the last few years.

    1. Mary E says

      Don’t think that will help them out when they are lacking in so much technology..and submarines that really could do the job.

  4. ArcAngel says

    Nothing like (ahem) “reporting” on Norwegian Intelligence hearsay/gossip. I have read several articles by this Mr Rogoway now, and truth be told, I had a tough time getting though this piece of crap. I read the article at “The Drive” due someone sending me the article, and my response was “please do NOT send me anymore crap like this”
    “The Drive” is equally terrible. Lots of comparisons of this to “Hunt For Red October”. Talk about idiocy.
    How old is that illustration…USSR…really! So much for keeping up with the times.
    Highly disappointing of “Checkpoint Asia” for reproducing this BS.
    Lastly, if this is accurate, who cares!!! The Russians could send the entire Northern Fleet with the Baltic Fleet to sit on the Eastern Shores of the US and I could NOT care.
    Nothing like some anti-Russian Norwegian fear-porn first thing in the morning. No doubt this will all over the US spews sorry ‘news’. Rachel Madcow/MSNBS might even piss herself on camera.
    “The Russian are coming, The Russians are coming”
    No points for you Checkpoint Asia.

    1. Mary E says

      Just remember this about the US: desperate times call for desperate measures..and Washington is in the thick of it.
      Do we really think that over 180 US military bases in the world (including those in Iceland that were mentioned in article) will do much to ‘save the world’ as the US claims it wants to do? They won’t because their weaponry just doesn’t and won’t rise to any occasion as they desperately cling to the hegemonic dream

      1. DarkEyes says

        Of course the US Military and her NATO vassals are not interested, willing or even capable to “assist a member” IF “attacked by Russia”,

        The US is only interested in the moneys of their NATO slaves and other occupied areas on the planet to make profits and have a military organization running payed for by these suckers.

        For instance, Germany is occupied by US and have to pay for its own colonisation to her Occupier, Liberator and Governor of Germany the US since 1945. Like they let the Germans pay for WWI from 1918 on which the UK Empire have started in 1914. The WWI payments stopped somewhere near 2014!

        Every country on the planet with a US military base has to pay “protection money” to US, which called this occupation “to defence locally of its partner against Russian aggression”.
        Compare these lies with a salesman on a market place selling you 100% crap and you buy it. The man is pulling you a leg (or two).

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