The Russian military is showing off its strength in a series of Arctic military drills. In one of the most recent drills, a Russian nuclear submarine was able to fire a cruise missile from underwater, destroying its target with “high accuracy.” The submarine was part of an alleged 20-strong fleet of military ships participating in the drills off the coast of Russia in the Arkhangelsk region.
The Daily Mail reports that the Russian military is practicing a number of drills in the Arctic Sea near the Arkhangelsk region. A Severodvinsk submarine displayed its power during the military drills by shooting a Kalibr missile from underwater aimed at a coastal target. The missile allegedly hit the target with “high accuracy.” Video taken of the military drill shows the submarine slowly submerging below the water before firing the Kalibr missile. After firing the shot, the missile can be seen erupting violently from the water before disappearing from view behind a veil of smoke.
The submarine missile test was, according to the Mirror, part of a larger drill which included 20 warships and vessels from the Caspian flotilla. The report indicates that the Severodvinsk submarine is a flagship weapon in the Russian military and is capable of carrying up to 40 Kalibr missiles at a time. Russia is slated to build 12 of these submarines giving them the capability of carrying 480 Kalibr water-to-land missiles at a time.
To make matters worse, it was disclosed that the Russian Severodvinsk submarine is far quicker than the fastest American submarines. The Severodvinsk can travel an astonishing 35 knots at full pelt. With the successful water-to-ground missile tests and fully functioning fleet of Severodvinsk submarines under Russian command, the U.S. Naval Institute has deemed the Russian submarines a “tough potential opponent.”
It also appears that the U.S. Navy is not taking the Russian submarine testing lightly. The U.S. naval commander in Europe, Admiral Mark Ferguson, says that he has not seen this level of submarine activity by Russia since the Cold War. CNN reports that Admiral Ferguson believes that Russia is increasing their military activity in response to a perceived threat from NATO.
“NATO is viewed as an existential threat to Russia, and in the post-Cold War period, the expansion of NATO eastward closer to Russia and our military capability they view as a very visceral threat to Russia.”
Ferguson also pointed out that new Russian submarines and boats are “much more stealthy” and have “more advanced weapons systems.”
“The submarines that we’re seeing are much more stealthy. We’re seeing (the Russians) have more advanced weapons systems, missile systems that can attack land at long ranges, and we also see their operating proficiency is getting better as they range farther from home waters.”
Therefore, the U.S. Navy seems to be keeping a close eye on Russia despite admitting that it is impossible to “maintain 100 percent awareness” of the Russian fleet. With the expansion of the Russian fleet of submarines and military watercraft, it was reported that the country now has access, via the Black Sea and Arctic Circle, to reach the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. gap and potentially U.S. and NATO territorial waters.
While Russia is seemingly focusing efforts on sea combat vehicles, they are not neglecting their surface military combat vehicles in the process. Russia continues to expand their fleet of fighter jets and has recently been called out for doing an “aggressive” flyby of a U.S. naval ship.
What do you think about Russia expanding their submarine fleet and testing water-to-land missile capabilities? Should the U.S. Navy be concerned by the rapid advancements that Russia is seeing both in land and sea combat?
[Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev / Getty Images]