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U.S. Military Worried About Russian Submarine Strike Capability Lurking Off Our Shores

Newly constructed, highly capable Russian submarines patrolling with striking distance of U.S. soil

U.S. Military Worried About Russian Submarine Strike Capability Lurking Off Our Shores

While the Biden administration aggressively provides robust military hardware to Ukraine, newly constructed, highly capable Russian submarines lurk within striking distance of U.S. soil

The Biden administration continues to funnel serious military resources into Ukraine, totaling more than $27.4 billion in military hardware to date. The most recent package, announced Thursday, totals $2.5 billion in assistance and includes “59 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 90 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers, 53 mine-resistant ambush protected [MRAP] vehicles and 350 high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.

Meanwhile, a new Business Insider article explains that while Russia has suffered numerous setbacks in its war with Ukraine, Russia’s newest guided missile submarine, the Severodvinsk class, is currently patrolling within striking distance of U.S. soil:

They have started doing patrols in the Atlantic, holding the United States at risk in some of their patrol areas, and they recently moved one into the Pacific, . . . So there’ll be a dual-flank challenge for the United States in trying to track and hold accountable where those submarines are and what they’re doing.

The Severodvinsk is one of Russia’s newest class of submarines, is extremely capable, and is expected to become a “persistent, proximate threat capable of carrying a significant number of land-attack cruise missiles that can threaten our homeland today.” These submarines are  “on par with” U.S. submarines, and recently gained notoriety for conducting strikes on ISIS targets in Syria, which surprised U.S. military leaders.

Importantly, Severodvinsk class submarines are armed with the newly developed Kalibr land attack cruise missile, which boasts a 1,000 pound warhead and a cruise range of an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 km. Additionally, the newer Severodvinsk subs “have a number of upgrades, including new quieting technology and a quieter nuclear reactor.” In short, the Severodvinsk class submarine represents a relatively new Russian land attack capability somewhat similar to the one long-enjoyed by U.S. submarines, the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile, and the Russians are now employing these subs off the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

In addition, the Coast Guard is now monitoring the activities of a Russian spy ship operating “off the coast of Hawaii.” “The Vishnya-class Kareliya surveillance ship has been monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard sailing near Hawaii over the last several weeks.” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh stated that she could not “speak to why the Russians are sailing the ship right now,” but noted that “it’s kind of precarious timing,” because of “heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and veiled threats to employ nuclear weapons.”

Ironically, it appears that the successful Ukrainian strike in March of this year against a Russian Alligator class troop transport at its pier in Russian-occupied Berdyansk, Ukraine may have, “in a sort of weird and perverse way,” encouraged the Russians to deploy the Severodvinsk subs within striking distance of the United States. The Russians appear to be interested in “targeting maritime resupply at the pier” as a means of thwarting resupply and rearming Ukraine, a scenario NATO navies, including the U.S. Navy, have recently increased training to counter.

Hopefully President Biden, and his crack staff, who are “among the most influential, unelected individuals in the U.S. government,” have this new submarine land attack cruise missile threat well in hand, and are thoughtfully balancing the risks and benefits of its Ukrainian fortification policy going forward.


Jim Nault is an attorney and a retired U.S. Navy Captain and the former Commanding Officer of USS Toledo (SSN-769), an improved, Tomahawk capable Los Angeles class attack submarine homeported in Groton, CT. This is his first post at Legal Insurrection, and he will help us moving forward to cover military, national security, Second Amendment, and other issues.


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This is nothing new. They have been out there for decades.

    maxmillion in reply to TimMc. | January 20, 2023 at 11:44 pm

    And keeping track of them is why they get the big black budget.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to TimMc. | January 21, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    I assume there’s a current replacement for the late Cold War OTH radars? So, we could see those launches coming during their hour+ inbound?

But now they have Nuclear torpedoes designed to create tidal waves to destroy entire cities by the sea.

    TheOldZombie in reply to MattMusson. | January 20, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    Has anyone in the West sat down and did the math to see if a 100 megaton warhead is exploded underwater a certain distance from American shores that it could create a tsunami that would be a threat to coastal cities?

    Part of me thinks the Russian Poseidon torpedoes are more bluff than real in this department. They certainly are big enough to house a big nuke but one that can make a tsunami capable of wiping out larges parts of the coast? I’m not buying it.

    The Russians are playing games.

      alaskabob in reply to TheOldZombie. | January 20, 2023 at 5:54 pm

      The US sat down and tested an underwater nuke detonation in the South Pacific. The Poseidon would have a one-two punch. While the tidal wave might not be as big, the radiation would render the coastal areas uninhabitable.

      That was 21 kiloton detonation. Something 2000 times bigger would definitely do damage. So, not ideal to dismiss.

        TheOldZombie in reply to alaskabob. | January 20, 2023 at 6:20 pm

        Not dismissing but to say you can create a tsunami 1500 feet tall and wipe out the entire east coast needs a little more than the Russians claiming that’s exactly the type of weapon they’ve built.

        And radiation is not forever. Just ask the people living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

          alaskabob in reply to TheOldZombie. | January 20, 2023 at 10:03 pm

          Hiroshima and Nagasaki were air burst bombs. Ground level and underwater detonations are very dirty. The ships swamped by the 21 kilo blast were so dirty even sand blasting was required to clean them. When thinking of the Poseidon refer to the Tsar Bomba… the 50 megaton bomb the Soviet detonated. I fully believe that a huge tidal wave would happen. That bomb was also an air burst. Sakarov had the bomb limited to 50 megatons because the original level of 100 megatons would be wasted as it blew out of the atmosphere. The 100 would have been a primary, secondary and tertiary device. Still… the bomb was the cleanest even used. The Tsar Bomba was limited in size to fit in a Bear Bomber. Not the case with the Poseidon. The contamination from a ground burst doesn’t go away for years and years….think Chernobyl.

      alaskabob in reply to TheOldZombie. | January 20, 2023 at 6:46 pm

      Boston Harbor, New York City harbor, and The Chesapeake Bay areas would be ideal for targeting. Add Norfolk and the East Coast is toast. West Coast… San Pedro ,The Bay Area and Seattle… plus San Diego and it’s all history. Eight Poseidons and shipping is totally crippled along with financial and governmental functions. Hum… swamp the swamp.

        Icepilot in reply to alaskabob. | January 21, 2023 at 5:05 pm

        Seattle is not at risk from a tsunami. Waves break in shallow water & Puget Sound has Whidbey Island & parts of the Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend) between it & the Pacific Ocean. The tidal surge would be nasty, but nothing like a ~100+ ft wave.

The other thing Russian submarines are famous for is ending up dead in the water at the foot of a submerged mountain range. A favorite place for this seems to be off the coasts of Sweden and Norway and the Mariana Trench.

The current and popular notion that Russia is not a threat to western interests is put to the test by the Captain Jim Nault (ret).

This is why world government will never work. The globalists don’t do anything about bad actors and instead focus on micromanaging and overpolicing their own citizens as a show of force to stave off the naked facade of their true impotence.

There was a think-tank exercise decades ago where Soviets could annihilate the US in a nuclear exchange by simply firing a volley of SLBMs from subs parked off the continental shelf – the air bursts would put out enough EMPs to fry or at least impede our launch control systems long enough for their long range ICBMs to carpet bomb CONUS. It was that or similar disaster planning that embarked the US on a nuclear-hardening program to better protect our nuclear fleet. Seems like it was the early 80’s when I first heard about that think tank scenario – and I remember nuclear hardening being a thing in the Minuteman/MX/Peacekeeper program by the mid 80’s. Certainly that makes “fly over” country a more attractive option for making your home.

    alaskabob in reply to MrE. | January 20, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    During the Cold War a bunch of Soviet and American physicist at a Swedish meeting chugged enough booze that the Soviets loosened up about their EMP bombs thinking the US knew all about them…wrong…. the USA guys didn’t… so they listened intently. Turns out the casing on Soviet bombs was a poorer stainless steel versus the high grade used by USA. Look up the results of EMP tests… the Soviets had it nailed and we were not far behind later on… think of Hilo, Hawaii. Iran and the Norks know what is needed and it isn’t much. Two nukes and most of the US is fried. If you like your stone age… you can have your stone age.

      texansamurai in reply to alaskabob. | January 21, 2023 at 10:19 am


      has been theorized for decades (since clinton, at least) that there’s no need to launch nukes from subs–pretty much theatre–nukes could be (and possibly already are) on our soil at this minute–sitting quietly in a handfull of ubiquitous shipping containers placed at (or within range of) our key ports/transportation/power grid facilities–no need to deliver them by air / sea launch, etc with all the attendant logistics issues–the sort of intelligence organization / activity necessary to prevent/interdict that sort of attack (though has obviously existed since the clinton administration) unfortunately may be retiring/dying-off and, in any case, far beyond the capability of the biden “administration”

President Biden, and his crack staff, who are “among the most influential, unelected individuals in the U.S. government,”

Fouad? You have something to say?

Quite simply, the oceans are large, the Russians have quite a few subs, and the US doesn’t have enough subs to stalk each one of them individually. That means they *can* cause a lot of damage in any kind of engagement. Those cruise missiles with the thousand pound warheads? That’s nuke size. Practically any torpedo can carry a nuke but getting it out there far enough so it doesn’t sink the sub at the same time can be an issue for the Russians. They don’t care. Their subs are disposable. If a cruise missile sub manages to launch, they might as well abandon ship right there because its lifespan will be measure in hours at most.

Quite frankly, if any kind of dispute goes as far as to have US and Russian subs shooting at stuff, that’s not really going to be a high priority for the rest of us.

Free State Paul | January 20, 2023 at 4:43 pm

The Business Insider link about Russia’s “numerous setbacks” goes to an 8-month old article about the sinking of the Moscow.

Considering that US Navy ships sink in dry dock and collide with freighters during peacetime, I don’t see why we should feel so superior.

Old enough to remember the barrel of a gun aimed from behind every blade of grass, and wise enough to understand the desire to end the 2A.

I would be funny if their subs started disappearing without a trace.

the elected officials have impeded our anti sub
ability .. we need more frigates and destroyers
and underwater listening stations.. instead they
build crap.. like LCS class

Jim, welcome to the LI family, looking forward to your reporting

Damn shame those missiles have 1000 mile ranges. If all the Russki’s could threaten had been our east and west coasts, I’d just turn the page. Yeah, I’d miss from the Carolinas on down, but hopefully they’re not high-value targets. (Sorry southern Virginia, but Norfolk means you’re toast.)

smalltownoklahoman | January 20, 2023 at 7:42 pm

A range of 2500km puts a significant chunk of the interior of the U.S. at risk as well as the coasts so long as one of those subs can get close enough to our shores.

Subs, for a Navy with sufficient experience with subs like Russia, are a good way to stretch defense dollars. They are adaptable to multipurpose mission sets and are far more survivable than surface vessels in the modern missile/drone age.

a detachment I was with in the navy .. the sub guys all had T shirts with .. “hello target.. good bye target” showing a ship being sunk …
so the surface guys all had T shirts with
“2 types of submarines .. hot contacts and oil slicks ” there was a lot of love between the 2 shops 😀 lol

    alaskabob in reply to jqusnr. | January 20, 2023 at 10:13 pm

    During WWII a destroyer met up with a submarine. The destroyer captain signaled “preparing to go to 30 to follow.” Sub captain… “preparing to submerge…care to follow?”

      markm in reply to alaskabob. | January 21, 2023 at 1:19 pm

      No WWII subs could go 30 knots, and few could even go 20 knots, so the destroyer captain was kind of rubbing it in. OTOH, with luck a sub could cause a destroyer to submerge with just one torpedo.

This war was completely preventable, yet Biden’s handlers forced Putin into it. The rea$on$?

The slaughter is in the lap of the swamp and the likes of McConnell.

I would be funny if their subs started disappearing without a trace.

scorpion ?

Democracy without borders.

Demos-cracy is aborted in darkness.

“59 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 90 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers, 53 mine-resistant ambush protected [MRAP] vehicles and 350 high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles.”
That’s nice.
But what the Ukrainians need, what the Ukrainians have asked for, are a few hundred of the thousands of mothballed early vintage M-1 Abrams tanks sitting out in the Arizona desert.
Biden and Democrats won’t send them, which are of no use to us, because that will empower the Ukrainians to push the Russians out of Ukraine.
Biden and Democrats want to appear to be helping Ukraine, but in fact are pushing Ukraine to give Russia whatever Russia wants…which is to make Ukraine a client state of Russia.
Thank you, Democrat voters.