U.S. nuclear sub leaves Norway to track Russian subs in North Atlantic

The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 16, 2019. While the USS Florida is tracking Russian activity in the Mediterranean, the USS Minnesota is tracking the Russians in the Norwegian Sea. The USS Minnesota launched from a Norwegian base earlier this week. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Drew Verbis/U.S. 6th Fleet/Public Domain)
USS Minnesota takes part in the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between NATO and Russian subs in the Norwegian Sea.

The U.S. 6th Fleet on Thursday tweeted photos showing how a MK-48 Advanced Capability torpedo is loaded. The operation took place at Haakonsvern Naval Base outside Bergen on Norway’s west coast.

“…. many thought one US sub was tracking Russian activity. Not so fast! There were TWO (maybe more),” the tweet reads and points to USS Florida in the Mediterranean and the USS Minnesota in the North Atlantic.

It was in late October at least eight nuclear-powered submarines sailed out from their bases on the Kola Peninsula in maneuvers of a scale not seen since the days of the Cold War three decades ago.

The tweet from the U.S. Naval Force Europe, 6th Fleet, shows that NATO are not only tracking the current Russian submarine activities in the Norwegian- and Barents Sea with maritime patrol aircrafts out of Keflavik on Iceland and Andøya in northern Norway.

Increased sub activity in North Atlantic

USS Minnesota is a Virginia-class fast attack submarine powered by a single reactor. The Virginia class is the U.S. Navy’s latest attack submarines and incorporates the latest in stealth, intelligence gathering and weapons systems technology, according to Wikipedia.

Each submarine comes at a cost of $2.8 billion and the USS Minnesota was commissioned in 2013.

The Barents Observer reported in 2018 that nuclear-powered NATO submarines were inshore Norway 3 to 4 times monthly.

Due to increased NATO submarine activities in the North Atlantic, including the Norwegian- and Barents Seas, Norway is now considering re-opening the port facilities at the former Olavsvern naval base outside Tromsø. The base was sold to private activities some years ago. Due to lack of sutiable port facilities in the north, Haakonsvern near Bergen are used also for visiting NATO submarines sailing to northern waters.

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: NATO’s Arctic dilemma, Eye on the Arctic special report

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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