Russia has been deploying more submarines in the Atlantic, and for longer periods of time, where they can both threaten the United States' infrastructure while they patrol the East Coast and North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries' ships, according to naval commanders from the United States and its allies.
“We see it routinely now: more submarines, further away, for longer periods of time,” Vice Adm. Keith Blount, commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command, said in an interview, reports the Wall Street Journal. Further, U.S. Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the U.S. Second Fleet, said earlier this year that U.S. ships can't expect to cross the Atlantic unhindered while crossing the Atlantic, as they are entering a contested space.
In recent years, Russia has spent billions of dollars to upgrade its submarine fleet that it inherited from the former Soviet Union. The new ships are quieter and faster and can stay under water at greater depths.
The Russian Navy late last year conducted one of its largest exercises since the Cold War ended when it sent 10 submarines from the country's Arctic coast base toward the North Atlantic. The exercise involved testing weapons and diving to maximum depth off the Norwegian coast, they said.
However, Mike Petersen, director of the Russia Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College, said the submarines' major task is to track critically important targets such as aircraft carriers and infrastructure in the United States and Europe.
“They can cross the Atlantic and lay unnoticed off the East Coast, even strike targets in the U.S. or Europe if left on their own,” he warned.
He added that the Russian nuclear-powered submarines are "the most lethal, the stealthiest and have the longest endurance, among the naval forces — they are their ace in the hole."
NATO has stepped up its capabilities to hunt submarines, including with the United Kingdom ordering 9 new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol planes and Norway committing to buying 5.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has returned to Iceland, where its Cold War-era air base was deactivated in 2006.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.