Russian attack submarine operates undetected in Gulf of Mexico for a month

From the Washington Free Beacon.


A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

It is only the second time since 2009 that a Russian attack submarine has patrolled so close to U.S. shores.

The stealth underwater incursion in the Gulf took place at the same time Russian strategic bombers made incursions into restricted U.S. airspace near Alaska and California in June and July, and highlights a growing military assertiveness by Moscow.

The submarine patrol also exposed what U.S. officials said were deficiencies in U.S. anti-submarine warfare capabilities—forces that are facing cuts under the Obama administration’s plan to reduce defense spending by $487 billion over the next 10 years.

The Navy is in charge of detecting submarines, especially those that sail near U.S. nuclear missile submarines, and uses undersea sensors and satellites to locate and track them.

The fact that the Akula was not detected in the Gulf is cause for concern, U.S. officials said.

The officials who are familiar with reports of the submarine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico said the vessel was a nuclear-powered Akula-class attack submarine, one of Russia’s quietest submarines.

[…]Submarine warfare specialists say the Akula remains the core of the Russian attack submarine force.

The submarines can fire both cruise missiles and torpedoes, and are equipped with the SSN-21 and SSN-27 submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as SSN-15 anti-submarine-warfare missiles. The submarines also can lay mines.

The SSN-21 has a range of up to 1,860 miles.

Why is this happening? Well, it might be because of Obama’s policy of unilateral disarmament, appeasement and retreat.

The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity.

The Obama administration’s defense budget proposal in February cut $1.3 billion from Navy shipbuilding projects, which will result in scrapping plans to build 16 new warships through 2017.

The budget also called for cutting plans to buy 10 advanced P-8 anti-submarine warfare jets needed for submarine detection.

In June, Russian strategic nuclear bombers and support aircraft conducted a large-scale nuclear bomber exercise in the arctic. The exercise included simulated strikes on “enemy” strategic sites that defense officials say likely included notional attacks on U.S. missile defenses in Alaska.

Under the terms of the 2010 New START arms accord, such exercises require 14-day advanced notice of strategic bomber drills, and notification after the drills end. No such notification was given.

A second, alarming air incursion took place July 4 on the West Coast when a Bear H strategic bomber flew into U.S. airspace near California and was met by U.S. interceptor jets.

That incursion was said to have been a bomber incursion that has not been seen since before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Is Obama really cutting defense? Consider this article from Investors Business Daily.


The administration announces a leaner version of our military involving the cutting of tens of thousands of ground troops as a leading defense contractor closes a major plant due to budget cuts.

In an unusual appearance at the Pentagon on Thursday, President Obama laid out his plans for a “leaner” military based on the need “to renew our economic strength here at home, which is the foundation of our strength in the world.”

In other words, failed domestic policies require us to cut our military in a dangerous world.

[…]Defense cuts are already having a domestic effect. Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita, Kan., by the end of 2013, moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to other facilities.

The closure, prompted by defense cuts, will cost 2,160 workers their jobs.

[…]A 14-page analysis by the Republican majority staff of the House Armed Services Committee says the cumulative cuts will result in the Army and Marines losing 200,000 troops.

The Navy will shrink to 238 vessels from today’s 300 and would lose two carrier battle groups needed to project American power and influence. Strategic bombers will fall from 153 to 101. Air Force fighters would drop by more than half, from 3,602 aircraft to 1,512 planes.

I blogged more about the Obama administration’s cuts to defense last week.

12 thoughts on “Russian attack submarine operates undetected in Gulf of Mexico for a month”

  1. They’ve been doing this for decades.

    Canada has been (justifiably, for the most part, IMO) mocked for its lack of submarines. Long after nuclear became the sub of choice, we were still using diesel electric. The old subs did have one advantage, though. They were silent when running on electric. Nuc subs are noisy. So when a Russian nuclear sub was found going into the St. Lawrence Seaway (this happened before the USSR broke up), we simply followed them. It was quite some time before they realized our sub, at which point, they turned and left as fast at they could go.

    No, you’re not going to find any record of that particular incident. It “didn’t happen.”

    The US does it too, of course, and constantly go into Canadian waters without permission. When official protests are made, the response is basically, “what are you going to do about it?” It was a major frustration when my husband was in the navy, back under the Chretien government, and during the brief Mulrony years. One of many.

    I think every country with nuclear subs does this, testing how far they can get away with. The waters in the Arctic are a busy place in particular, and boundries are constantly ignored.


    1. Canada needs to bite the bullet and lease 2-4 Los Angeles class attack submarines to patrol their arctic region, and maybe invest in an ASW base as well. Harper is the right man for the job. Just privatize the CBC and you’ll have the money you need.


      1. I agree. Harper has improved things, but after so many years of our military being strangled by our own government, on top of constant opposition against anything to improve our military, it’s not going to be easy. We also have to develop the cajones to tell the US navy to bugger off when they push us around. I’m afraid I lost a LOT of respect for the US navy during my husband’s years in the navy. They seem to forget who their allies are. I would hope things have improved over the years, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t think so. :-/


        1. Even India is building an aircraft carrier. Canada should at least have a couple of nuclear attack submarines, a helicopter carrier, a couple of guided missile destroyers. Your frigates are still pretty good, but you can always get more of them with some real standoff capability. E.g. – Tomahawk cruise missiles. I heard that you guys use P-3C Orions and old Sea King helicopters. Those need replacing. Some strategic air lift would not be a bad idea either. Your Leopard tanks use the old 105mm gun. You want to upgrade those to something with 120mm. If you can afford it, how about getting some Leopard 2 A6 tanks? I love those. And they’re new.


          1. Oh whoops:


            On 12 April 2007, DND confirmed rumours that Canada would acquire ‘new’ Leopard tanks. As reported in Der Spiegel, Canada will first lease 20 mine-protected Leopard 2A6Ms from Bundeswehr stocks. But the follow-on purchase was not for ex-German tanks. Instead, 100 “slightly used” tanks would come from the Netherlands in an order for 20 Leopard 2A6s and 80 early Leopard 2A4s, all refurbished.[1]

            Yeah, do that.


          2. Oh here’s more good news:

            In October 2011 the Canadian government announced in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy that it would be ordering 15 warships under the Single Class Surface Combatant Project to replace the 3 Iroquois class destroyers and 12 Halifax class frigates, beginning in 2016.

            The Halifax class frigates are ok – they are from 1992, but the destroyers need to be replaced!!! They are from 1972!!!! Holy snouts.


          3. I agree – with how much coastline we’ve got, our navy should be much bigger, and much better equipped. At the same time, I believe it’s important to not be too dependant on all that wonderful technology. When you have to fly in a specialist to fix a coffee maker on an aircraft carrier (yes, that really happened), or can’t do navigational calculations with pencil and paper if the computers break down, there is something wrong. (My husband was NavO for a time, and he could do the calculations in his head faster then others could plug the numbers into their calculators.)

            And yes, we are still using the Sea Kings. That’s a huge sore spot for us. Canada was supposed to upgrade them, but when Chretien was elected, he promptly cancelled the contract (costing us billions). When my husband was training to be a SAC in Hallifax, there was an accident that almost grounded the Sea Kings, but didn’t, because we have nothing else. There was an electrical fire in the cockpit. The pilot and co-pilot – friends of my husband’s – were able to get the helicopter low enough that the men in back were able to jump out before it crashed, killing them both. They were *on fire* yet they still managed to save the men they were transporting.

            Had the Conservatives been in government at the time, it would there would have been an uproar, but it was the Libs in power, and the media largely ignored it.


  2. I think it’s appalling that the government has decided to so seriously weaken the nation’s defenses. On the other hand, I have reason to question the Washington Free Beacon story. If, as they indicated, it was an Akula-class submarine, then it was not “armed with long-range cruise missiles”. These subs are attack subs primarily for hunting other subs. They have anti-aircraft missiles and torpedoes. I wonder if they didn’t spice up their story a little to raise the alarm more. An Akula is not much of a threat to the nation; more of an embarrassment.


    1. I just had a comment from an atheist where he claimed that Russia has never developed any cruise missiles of their own, and they only have them because the USA sold them cruise missiles. HOLY MACKEREL. We’re dealing with a whole new level of stupidity there.


    2. You are right – attack submarines do not typically carry long-range standoff weapons.

      But the article says this:

      Submarine warfare specialists say the Akula remains the core of the Russian attack submarine force.

      The submarines can fire both cruise missiles and torpedoes, and are equipped with the SSN-21 and SSN-27 submarine-launched cruise missiles, as well as SSN-15 anti-submarine-warfare missiles. The submarines also can lay mines.

      The SSN-21 has a range of up to 1,860 miles.


      1. Yes, it appears that is the case. Conflicting sources provide conflicting information about the Akula-class subs. Wikipedia says no. says, “The Akula Class submarines carry up to 12 Granit submarine-launched cruise missiles.” (That’s the SSN-21.) Also, they’re apparently best known for their stealth — silence.

        And an interesting breach of info from your atheist friend. In fact, the Daily Mail reported last year that Russia admitted selling cruise missiles to Syria.


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