Russian Navy drills for long-range strikes before nearing US coast

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A flotilla from the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet has embarked on a significant training mission for long-range strikes while heading to Cuba, bringing them just 350 kilometers off the coast of the United States. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This small naval contingent includes two formidable combat vessels: the Yasen-M Class nuclear-powered attack submarine Kazan and the Gorshkov Class frigate Admiral Gorshkov. These ships are among Russia’s most advanced ocean-going surface and submarine combatants. 

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, these vessels have conducted simulated long-range strikes against enemy naval targets situated more than 600 kilometers away. This comes on the heels of previous exercises by Admiral Gorshkov, which simulated countering an air raid using its guns and anti-aircraft systems. 

Photo credit: Reddit

Zircon and 3M54 Kalibr

The deployment of these ships to Cuba is widely seen as one of Russia’s responses to the escalating U.S. military support for Ukraine. This includes the provision of longer-range missiles, permitting their use against targets inside Russia, and offering personnel and targeting data via aircraft and satellite to support such attacks.

The Yasen-M Class submarines and Gorshkov Class frigates are equipped with an impressive array of cruise missiles. Their primary armaments include the new hypersonic Zircon, the P-800 anti-ship missile, the 3M54 Kalibr anti-ship missile, and the 3M14 Kalibr anti-surface missile. 

Photo credit: VKontakte

Both classes have been prioritized for Zircon missile deliveries since 2019 when this weapon was first introduced to the Navy. The Zircon is widely regarded as the world’s most formidable cruise missile, boasting a Mach 9 speed and a range of 1,000 kilometers. 

US deployed destroyers

If launched from locations near Cuba, these missiles could strike targets across much of Florida and beyond. The first launch of the Zircon from a Yasen Class submarine occurred in October 2021, following its initial launch from a Gorshkov Class frigate in February 2020. 

Video screenshot

The Russian Navy currently operates three Gorshkov Class frigates and four Yasen-M Class attack submarines, with additional units under construction—five more frigates and four more submarines. When a ship of each class neared the United States, the U.S. Navy deployed two destroyers and two support ships equipped with sonar systems to shadow them. This move potentially allowed the U.S. to gather valuable data on their operations and the Yasen-M Class’ stealth capabilities.

The hunt has begun

Earlier reports from BulgarianMilitary.com noted that some internet users echoed this sentiment and shared a screenshot from an application that tracks global air traffic, focusing on movements off the southern coast of the United States. 

Photo by Greg L. Davis

Just yesterday, the U.S. Navy deployed its P-8 Poseidon “submarine hunter.” According to the U.S. Civil Defense News X account, “U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon ‘Sub hunter’ is flying over the coast of Florida in search of a rogue Russian submarine.” They added, “The Russian Navy nuclear submarine Kazan is 66 miles away from the Florida coast, equipped with 4,500-km Kalibr-M missiles, off the coast of Cuba!! New Cuban Missile Crisis.” 

Experts point out that the U.S. is working closely with the Royal Canadian Navy in this search operation. To bolster their efforts, Ottawa has dispatched the Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft to operate alongside the U.S. P-8 Poseidon. 

Air traffic tracking app screenshots show these aircraft flying in circles within a defined quadrant, diligently carrying out their search. As of now, there’s no official update on the outcome of this joint Canadian-American naval mission.

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