Russian subs honing stealth skills in major North Atlantic drill: Norwegian intel

At least eight nuclear subs are taking part in a 60-day exercise in the North Atlantic, according to Norwegian intelligence. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
At least eight nuclear-powered submarines sailed out from their homeports on the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia last week, the Norwegian military intelligence says to NRK.

The aim of the navigation operation is to get as far out to the North Atlantic as possible without being discovered by NATO, the intelligence service informs to NRK. Such maneuvers haven’t been seen from the Northern Fleet since the days of the Cold War.

The operation started early last week, before Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Commander of the Northern Fleet, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Moiseyev visited Kirkenes in northern Norway last Friday.

Lavrov had bilateral talks with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide and the two said at the following press conference that security situation in northern Europe was one talking point.

Sergey Lavrov and Ine Eriksen Søreide at the joint press conference. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

On Saturday, the Barents Observer reported about two of the Sierra-class submarines of the Northern Fleet sailing towards the Norwegian Sea for deep-sea dive tests and weapon tests. The two submarines are the Pskov and Nizhny Novgorod, both built with a titanium-hull.

Eight of the ten submarines now at sea are nuclear-powered, the intelligence service says to NRK.

The intelligence service claim to have “a decent control” over where the submarines are in the sea.

  • Two nuclear submarines are west of Bear Island, between Svalbard and Finnmark, the northernmost part of mainland Norway.
  • Two submarines are south and east of Bear Island, guarding the entrance to the eastern part of the Barents Sea.
  • Two Sierra-class nuclear submarines are training in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea.
Testing NATO

NRK reports that the operation is supposed to last for 60 days. If so, the submarines will be back in port before New Years celebrations and the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

The Norwegian intelligence service informs to NRK that Russia with the operation is aimed at showing the United States that the country is able to threaten the east coast by protecting the bastion in such a way that the ballistic missile submarines can launch nukes targeted at the USA.

Russia wants to test NATO’s ability to discover and handle such operation, the intelligence service tells NRK.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada, U.S. must do more to check Russian military in the Arctic, says NORAD chief, CBC News

Finland: US missiles: Finnish, Russian presidents call for dialogue at Helsinki meeting, Yle News

Norway: Norway absent from massive US-led multinational drill in Europe next year, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia deploys new missile system near Norwegian, Finnish borders, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish soldiers take part in Finnish naval exercise, Radio Sweden

United States: Finnish and US Presidents agree on Arctic security policies, Eye on the Arctic

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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