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.DONATE
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