Russian Submarine

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A top US Navy commander says Russia’s advancements in developing various classes of submarine and arming them with “very capable” cruise missile technology are a source of concern.

Admiral James Foggo, the most senior US naval officer in Europe, told reporters Friday that while the Russian Navy lacked a “robust capital ship capability,” it posed a real threat under the surface.

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“We’ve seen creation of new classes of all sorts of submarines and ships. I’m more concerned with submarine warfare,” Foggo said earlier in the day, while addressing the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“Russians have produced the new Dolgorukiy-class submarine. They’ve produced the Severodvinsk-class submarine. They’ve produced the new Kilo hybrid-class submarines,” Foggo told reporters at the Pentagon.

Named after the founder of Moscow, the Yuriy Dolgorukiy is a Borei-class submarine that was launched in 2008 and is capable of carrying 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

Severodvinsk belongs to the Yasen-class of Russian nuclear attack submarines. The sub was launched in 2010 and successfully test-fired several submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) before being commissioned in 2014.

Unlike the other two classes, which operate on nuclear power, the Kilo class subs run on diesel-electric propulsion and are intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations.

Russia is currently working on the Lada class of diesel electric submarines, which will eventually replace the Kilos.

Foggo said six of the Russian Kilo-class submarines were operating in the Black Sea or the eastern Mediterranean where they fired Kalibr missiles, an advanced cruise missile that Russia has been using to target terrorists in Syria.

Noting that Russia had successfully tested Kalibr missiles from coastal-defense systems, long-range aircraft, and submarines, Foggo said Russia was able to target all of Europe’s major cities with such weapons.

“That’s a concern to me, and it’s a concern to my NATO partners and friends. So we should know where they are at all times,” he added, calling on US allies to invest more in their anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The UK and Norway have already taken steps to counter Russia’s submarine activity in the Arctic, purchasing nearly a dozen P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft from the US.

The comments came two days after the new Kilo-class submarines Krasnodar and the Novorossiysk made a passage to the Black Sea naval ranges to perform training missions.

The two subs belong to Russia’s Project 636 program, which produces extremely quiet subs that are very difficult for the enemy to detect.

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