Vice Adm. James Foggo III has stated that we may be approaching a new era in U.S. and Russian submarine warfare he calls “The Fourth Battle of the Atlantic.” Foggo made these claims in a recent article he wrote for the U.S. Naval Institute’s June issue of Proceedings. Foggo fears that Russian submarines could catch up to the currently technologically superior American submarines sooner than we think. He fears that an increase in Russian naval presence operations could be a sign of aggression against the U.S. and an omen that the Russians Navy fleet could soon surpass the U.S.
In the article Foggo compares the current increase in Russian naval presence operations to submarine battles that took place between the Allied forces and Germany in World War I and the arms race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. during the Cold War. He wrote in his article:
“Once again, an effective, skilled, and technologically advanced Russian submarine force is challenging us. Russian submarines are prowling the Atlantic, testing our defenses, confronting our command of the seas, and preparing the complex underwater battlespace to give them an edge in any future conflict…Not only have Russia’s actions and capabilities increased in alarming and confrontational ways, its national-security policy is aimed at challenging the United States and its NATO allies and partners.”
The Russians have not denied the increase in surface operations and have been very open about the process. One Russian official said in March of 2015 that submarine operations have increased by approximately 50% since Russia seized Crimea in 2014. Head of the Russian Navy, Adm. Viktor Chirkov claims that the increase is not an act of aggression but merely an act of security theater to protect Russia from potential aggressors. He said to the Russian state-controlled press:
“This is logical and necessary to guarantee the security of the state,”
Russian submarines still lag behind their U.S. counterparts technologically. However, the Russian military seems to be ramping up efforts to close the gap. In 2014 a U.S. officer in charge of submarine construction for the U.S. military was given a look at the Russian Navy’s new Yassen-class attack submarine. He was so impressed by what he saw that he had a model of the K-329 Severodvinsk attack submarine built for his office.
The Russains are also working on increasing the technological capabilities of all their submarines. Including modifying their diesel-electric submarines to be able to launch long-range Kalibir NK cruise missiles.
Foggo believes that the increase in technological prowess coupled with the increased presence of the Russian naval fleet in could lead to a kind of mini cold war where each nation struggles to surpass each other naval force.
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