A story reminiscent of the cold-war submarine tailing and territorial water patrols (see Sontag and Drew’s great book Blind Man’s Bluff), 2 Russian nuclear attack subs have been paroling the coastal waters of the US. The New York Times broke the story a few weeks ago and Bill Gertz followed up with additional detail suggesting that one of the subs had gone undetected through the Gulf of Mexico. The nature of brinksmanship and submarine espionage requires hiding ones capabilities of detection while pushing the limits of stealth in other’s territorial waters. In reality we can assume that nothing goes undetected across the Atlantic or Pacific and numerous classified US Naval capabilities were tracking at least every-other move of this ghostly intruder, likely recording invaluable data to aid in the future tracking.

The Akula‘s are designed to destroy our ballistic missile submarines to prevent them from launching a ballistic missile strike, but the last place to do that is close to American shores. Our SSBNs are likely lurking only a few hundred miles off the coast of the Eurasian continent where they can end life as we know it in under 15 minutes.

This expeditionary deployment does point to a more aggressive stance of the Russian military.