Russian Nuclear Submarines Deployed Off U.S. Coast Spark Concern Among Officials
Photo Credit: National Interest
Written by: Sam Orlando
Washington, DC: Russia's deployment of nuclear submarines off the coast of the United States and in the Mediterranean has sparked alarm, according to officials. The Russian Navy has been working to improve its submarine fleet since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, producing a series of submarines that have the capability to reach critical targets in the US and continental Europe. In December, Putin announced plans to build more nuclear-powered submarines to "ensure Russia's security for decades to come."
Michael Peterson, director of the Russia Maritime Studies Institute, which conducts research on Russian military and economic issues linked to the world's oceans, said there are indications that "nuclear-powered submarines have been deploying off the coast of the United States and into the Mediterranean and elsewhere along Europe's periphery." He added that their deployments "mirror Soviet-style submarine deployments in the Cold War."
Last year, U.S. Air Force General Glen VanHerck warned about the growing presence of the nuclear-powered Severodvinsk-class submarines off US coasts, characterizing Russia as the primary threat to the country.
"They just moved subs, their first [Severodvinsk submarine] into the Pacific," he said. "Another [Severodvinsk] is out in the Mediterranean right now and another that's out on its way into the Atlantic. That will be a persistent, proximate threat capable of carrying a significant number of land-attack cruise missiles that can threaten our homeland."
The exact scale of Russia's submarine activity remains unclear, though Peterson said there has been a clear increase over the past 20 years. However, he believes a "weakness" will be in place for the Russian Navy for at least the next three to five years due to Putin's war in Ukraine. "The [Russian] Navy is running out of munitions, I think that's clear. Their campaign against strategic infrastructure targets has slowed down. They're not shooting as frequently anymore, and I think that's an indication that they are running out of weapons or are in short supply," he said.