Russian ships cruising the western Atlantic will soon be armed long-range, precision cruise missiles that could present a threat to cities along America’s East Coast, according to a new report.
In recent months, Russia has used the conflict in Syria to showcase its ability to launch Kalibr cruise missiles from submarines and strike targets 1,000 miles away, Business Insider reported.
Now, Russia is putting those missile on warships and submarines that will patrol the Atlantic in a type of activity reminiscent of the Cold War.
The missiles will be deployed in the next few months, The Washington Free Beacon reported, citing “officials familiar with intelligence reports of the Russian maritime operations.”
“Russia plans to deploy Kalibr capability on all new design construction of nuclear and non-nuclear submarines, corvettes, frigates, and larger surface ships,” the Office of Naval Intelligence said in a 2015 report, noting the missile gives even modest vessels “significant offensive capability.”
“The proliferation of this capability within the new Russian Navy is profoundly changing its ability to deter, threaten or destroy adversary targets,” the report said.
Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO commander and commander of the European Command, has already said that the Kalibr is a concern for forces based in Europe.
“The activity level of their maritime forces is up in Europe,” Scaparrotti told the House Armed Services Committee last year.
“Most of their ships now have a Kalibr system on them,” he said. “It is both conventional and can be nuclear, if they choose to do so. It’s a very good system. It provides reach and precision, and, of course, wherever they have a ship, whether it’s undersea or on the surface, many of their ships now have the Kalibr system on them.”
The new system and an aggressive Russian posture at sea are a dangerous combination, Adm. James Foggo, the head of US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, said on his command’s podcast, “On the Horizon.”
“[#Russia‘s] military threat is combined with an information warfare campaign whose goal is nothing less than breaking up the political, economic, and military framework of European and North Atlantic cooperation.” https://t.co/qPvgbDWzq7 #cdnpoli #NATO
— Macdonald-Laurier Institute (@MLInstitute) August 15, 2018
“They’ve shown the capability to be able to reach pretty much all the capitals in Europe from any of the bodies of water that surround Europe,” he said. “Russia has renewed its capabilities in the North Atlantic and the Arctic in places not seen since the Cold War. For example, Russian forces have recently reoccupied seven for their former Soviet Union bases in the Arctic Circle.”
“The improved capability of Russia to be able to project power into this (European) region and these strategic routes from the Arctic into the North Atlantic … is something that we need to pay particular attention to.”
“We know that Russian submarines are in the Atlantic, testing our defenses, confirming our command of the seas and preparing a very complex underwater battlespace to try to give them an edge in any future conflict,” Foggo continued. “And we need to deny them that edge.”
Part of America’s effort to deny Russia an edge was the reconstituting of the Second Fleet, which will patrol the North Atlantic as a potential deterrent to Russia naval aggression.
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