A file picture taken in Brest harbor, western France, on September 21, 2004, shows the Vepr Russian nuclear submarine of the Project 971 Shchuka-B type, or Akula-class (Shark) by NATO classification , the same type as the Nerpa Russian nuclear submarine. Russia has handed over the nuclear-powered attack submarine Nerpa to India at a ceremony that followed more than two years of delays, a source in the naval chief of staff told ITAR-TASS today. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
The sub, the Free Beacon says, is an Akula vessel loaded with cruise missiles and is one of the quietest in the Russian fleet.
From the report:
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 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.
If confirmed, this isn’t the first time the Russians have made such a bold move recently. In 2009,the New York Times reported two other nuclear-powered attack subs were found to have patrolled the eastern seaboard, about 200 miles off the coast.
“It’s a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told the Free Beacon. “While the president is touting our supposed ‘reset’ in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether it’s in Syria or here in our own backyard.”