Okay, so it was not a big, bad Russian boomer loaded with twenty multiple-warhead SLBMs, but besides torpedoes, Akulas are armed with a fair number of long-range cruise missles, and those puppies could be tipped with just about anything.
Now some might find relief in the fact that it was merely an attack boat, but I am not finding much comfort in that.
What is more, I and a fair number of my fellow citizens was well within range of those missiles for an entire month, and the United States Navy, which is charged with detecting such boats and keeping them at a respectful distance, apparently did not even know it was operating right under their very noses.
Russian attack submarine sailed in Gulf of Mexico undetected for weeks, U.S. officials say
BY: Bill Gertz
August 14, 2012 5:00 am
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.
A Navy spokeswoman declined to comment.
One official said the Akula operated without being detected for a month.
“The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill U.S. Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews,” said a second U.S. official.
“It’s a very stealthy boat so it can sneak around and avoid detection and hope to get past any protective screen a boomer might have in place,” the official said, referring to the Navy nickname for strategic missile submarines.
The U.S. Navy operates a strategic nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia. The base is homeport to eight missile-firing submarines, six of them equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles, and two armed with conventional warhead missiles.
“Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,” said naval analyst and submarine warfare specialist Norman Polmar.
You will find the rest of the article at this link.
Obviously, given the previous Akula sighting and the Bear bomber incursion into our airspace a few months back, Putin & Company are toying with our Kenyan/Indonesian POtuS and CiC. This is not the least bit surprising, as the Russians have a long history of doing this, and I do not perceive them as being a true threat.
Of course, given that relations between Russia and America have been steadily heading south since Broom Hilda’s ‘Reset Button’ misfired, that could change.
What concerns me in the near-term is, if the Russians can sail a creaky old Akula around in what is essentially America’s backyard swimming pool for a month undetected, what about a country with immediate ill-intent and equipped with something newer, and perhaps even quieter?
After all, they would only have to get close enough once, and for just long enough to launch their missiles, and nobody would know a thing about it until it was all over.