Same As It Ever Was: The New Cold War

Well well well. The Soviet, er, Russian Navy is back to it’s old games, and trying to track down a Royal Navy Boomer.  No one should be surprised by this, especially with Putin as the new Czar for life.  The Russians have been going full steam ahead trying to modernize their fleet of both Fast Attack submarines and Boomers, even to developing a new SLBM to equip their new SSBN class.

From the UK’s Telegraph:

A specially upgraded Russian Akula class submarine has been caught trying to record the acoustic signature made by the Vanguard submarines that carry Trident nuclear missiles, according to senior Navy officers.

British submariners have also reported that they are experiencing the highest number of “contacts” with Russian submarines since 1987.

It’s no secret that the Russians have been trying the same thing with American boats, as well as those of the French. I’d be willing to place bets they’re also shadowing the Chinese, too.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that, within the past six months, a Russian Akula entered the North Atlantic and attempted to track a Vanguard. The incident has remained secret until now.

It is understood that the Russians stood off Faslane, where the British nuclear force is based, and waited for a Trident-carrying boat to come out for its three-month patrol to provide the Continuous At Sea Deterrent.

No kidding. They used to put Victor’s and other boats off of our Sub bases and other ports like Norfolk. Why that comes as a surprise to the folks writing this article is beyond me. It’s called “choke-point” tactics and we used it to defeat the Japanese in WWII, and it’s what every submarine force tries to do wherever and whenever possible.  This is another reason why basing all your vessels, or even most of them, in one place is just asking for trouble. One or two boats can potentially bottle up and destroy an entire fleet. Heck, the original design for the Soviet November class SSN called for a single HUGE torpedo tube in the bow to fire a massive nuclear torpedo in a port to take out most of what was there.

Regardless, the Russians understand that, even though England, the US and France still maintain their SSBN fleets, our ASW capabilities are severely degraded and they’ve likely come out to play and see how much they can get away with.


CNO: Are you listening? We don’t need a damned Diversity Command. We need more and better ASW assets and training. Our Navy is supposed to be able to defeat our enemies, not dazzle them with our rainbow appearances.

If the Russians are headed back to the vasty deep with their best SSN’s, and reopening the game, then we need to get on this ASAP, because in ASW, like all forms of Intel, coming in second means you lose.


See also:  AW1 Tim Borei Class SSBN Bulava SLBM


13 Responses to “Same As It Ever Was: The New Cold War”

  1. 1 Scooter Pie, AW1 Retired
    August 28, 2010 at 02:51

    The Pentagon and Adm Mullen do not see the Russian subs showing up off our coast as a threat and they say that we don’t even know that they are carrying any weapons! What idiots we have running the military today. I never believed the cold war was over and I was right. Now we have closed down our TSC/ASWOC’s and getting rid of our P-3’s. The Soviets are really laughing at us. We are in deep kimshi!

  2. 2 Scooter Pie, AW1 Retired
    August 28, 2010 at 02:52

    • August 28, 2010 at 05:15

      Ah yes……. Adm Pinochio… please tell me another one.

      Please tell me another story of ANY US or Russian sub going to sea without a full loadout of warshots. Unless it was sea trials, that ain’t happening.

  3. 4 Mongo
    August 28, 2010 at 04:40

    Concur completely with your assessment of Russian ambition vs our lack of preparedness. Seeing the demise of the War Hoover and P-3 drawdown has really brought home to me just how foolish DoD is. POTUS and SecDef are betting our Virginia class boats have it in them to fight the Akula, but sheer numbers on the Russian side will make up for an technology deficit.

    I’ve been particularly bothered for years by the base consolidation effort, and am very concerned that the Norfolk complex is now little more than a first strike target. Were it my choice, the Navy would immediately break up home porting of Carriers and Submarines. On the left coast we lost Long Beach, Alameda, and Mare Island within a very brief period of time. That leaves San Diego, Everett, and Bremerton for CONUS Pacific basing, with 75% of the ships in San Diego. On the Atlantic side we’re looking primarily at Norfolk and Charleston, with a small percentage in Groton and Mayport. What a really stupid thing to do. {sigh}

    • August 28, 2010 at 05:13

      Yup… and here in the East, all the P-3’s are at Jax. Almost all the Carrier Airwings are at Oceana. This is looking more and more like the 1930’s, where all our eggs were in one basket, all lined up and nicely polished.

  4. 6 ewok40k
    August 28, 2010 at 09:41

    Ahem, a dose of aspirin – how many Akulas exactly do Russians have in the Northern fleet? 6 total. They can have about 2-3 simultaneously on patrol max.
    And I bet there are at least 3-4 US SSNs paling exactly the same game on approaches to Murmansk.

    • August 28, 2010 at 13:18

      True, but the point is that they also have other boats out there, and they’ve begun to show a renewed interest in the old games(s).

      There are any number of reasons why they would choose to do this now.

  5. 8 ewok40k
    August 28, 2010 at 15:10

    They finally have enough money to do so? most of it comes from shedding older ships/subs and concentrating effort on newest classes. Someone in the Russian Navy High Comand has realised dozenz of Tangos and early Victors sitting in ports, eating up maintenance and personnel costs arent worth it. Cost is a BIG reduction in size of the fleet.

  6. September 7, 2010 at 02:24

    No one ever attacked us because we were too strong. R Reagan of course. Will they let us get to 2013? It occurs to me they may believe there would be no retaliation from obama, but would the military command step in and override at that point?

    Having children running things is so depressing.

  7. 11 Grumpy
    September 18, 2010 at 05:05

    Very interesting piece, you’ve written here, Tim. When I read it, I thought about Pearl Harbor, then 9/11. In Pearl Harbor, we see a great gathering of maritime assets. The only thing missing were the Carrier Groups Today, through the BRAC process, are we not doing the same thing? During the Old Cold War, there were Military Bases all along the East Coast, I figure the same was true for the West Coast. If a Russian ‘Bear’ decided to visit, our F-16’s flew out to meet them. If they chose to continue, our F-16’s had just the right thing to light up their lives. This is not just because of Obama, but all of the Presidents, back to John Kennedy. Many of these coastal bases were permitted to chill out.

    Moments after word went out about 9/11’s attack, these very same bases got *real hot, real fast.

    There’s an old saying-
    “A foolish man does not actually learn from his own mistakes.”
    “A smart man actually learns from his own mistakes.”
    “A wise man actually learns from somebody else’s mistakes.”

    When do we learn?

  8. 12 ewok40k
    September 19, 2010 at 03:00

    Oh my, another cold war era resurrected: Russia mightily demanded the extradiction of Zakayev, Chechen state-in-exile head, while he visited Poland. Quite a circus. He was arrested to show deference to official international warrant by Interpol, then promptly released by court,as if just to spite Russians: see, we have this thing called independent judicary.

  9. 13 J.M. Heinrichs
    September 26, 2010 at 21:48

    Also, the RN refers to its missile boats as ‘bombers’, vice ‘boomers’.


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