Joseph Trevithick, the voice of American "hawks" (probably still more "petrels"), hovering above (and below) the waves in his article Russia's Newest Submarines Are "On Par With Ours" According To Senior American General quoted the head of the Northern Command of the Armed Forces The United States, which said that "Russian Yasen-class submarines will pose a" constant imminent threat "to the United States."
It is very, very flattering to hear this from a potential adversary. Moreover, if you understand what this Northern Command is.
This is an analogue of our military districts. The area of responsibility of the US Northern Command includes air, land and sea areas and covers the northern states of the United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the surrounding seas approximately 500 nautical miles (930 km) from the coast. The area of responsibility also includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Strait and partly the Caribbean: Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Chief of the USSAC is responsible for liaising with the armed forces of Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas during wartime.
Today, the Northern Command has been led by four-star General Glen D. Vanherk from 20 August 2020.
True, Mr. General is from the Air Force, but what can prevent a good officer from dealing with the submarines of a potential enemy, if he has already studied the planes?
So what did General Vanherk talk about? And not just anywhere, but in a speech in the US Congress?
The general said that the latest Russian and Chinese submarines, very quiet and armed with cruise missiles, are beginning to pose a serious threat to the security of the United States.
In particular, Russian Yasen-class nuclear submarines are almost on a par with American Virginia-class nuclear submarines. And the Chinese submarines (it is not clear what the general meant, type 094 SSBN or type 093 MPLATRK, if by analogy with Yasen, then project 093) are still lagging behind, but this is how it is for now. And in the near future, if the Chinese fleet develops at such a pace, the Chinese nuclear submarines will definitely catch up with their American counterparts.
Vanherk made this speech to members of the House Armed Services Committee during a missile defense hearing on June 15, 2021.
Together with Vanherk, no less significant persons performed:
- Leonor Tomero, Deputy Defense Minister for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy;
- Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Vice Admiral of the Navy John Hill;
- Head of the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Lieutenant General Daniel Carbler;
- Chief of the US Space Command, Lieutenant General John Shaw.
- said the general.
One cannot but agree with the fact that this has not happened for a long time. However, how seriously nine, albeit the latest submarines with cruise missiles, can threaten the security of the United States, which has many times more nuclear submarines, is a question that we will leave for dessert.
It is clear that Vanherk is a little strained by the delivery of Kazan, the second project 885 submarine of the Yasen-M class, which NATO calls Severodvinsk after the name of the lead boat. The general emphasized that this submarine is a very serious project, which is not inferior to American submarines.
The second aspect that thrills General Vanherk is the eight large vertical missile silos that can hold 40 Caliber cruise missiles or 32 Onyx supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles. The Zircon hypersonic cruise missile could also become part of the Russian submarine's arsenal.
But most of all, the general is unhappy with the possibility of combining missiles in a launcher, which will make it possible to fire the entire set of missiles without much stress.
Vanherk separately noted that the installation of such missile silos led to the fact that the boat lost a large hydroacoustic station, which was located along the sides.
However, for some reason the general from aviation did not mention such an achievement as the new hydroacoustic complex "Irtysh-Amphora" with a dimensional spherical antenna located in the bow. And from the sides "Yasen-M" will "listen" with the help of the hydroacoustic complex "Ajax", the antennas of which are located throughout the submarine hull.
What was the result of General Vanherk's speech?
Basically, nothing new and surprising. The general concluded that America's East Coast is no longer a safe place thanks to Russian submarines. The low acoustic signatures of the new Russian submarines Yasen and Yasen-M make the detection and tracking of boats very challenging.
But there is also China, says the general, who in the next 5-10 years will also reduce the lag in the quality of submarines. We are talking about the further and promising development of type 093 "Shan".
These boats are also quite quiet and can also launch cruise missiles from their mines and torpedo tubes, which may not be as good as the American and Russian ones, but they are also weapons.
General Vanherk's comments yesterday coincide in many ways with those of Navy Vice Admiral Andrew "Woody" Lewis last year. Lewis was and remains the head of the US 2nd Fleet and the NATO Joint Forces Command Norfolk. The Navy revived the 2nd Fleet in 2018, specifically in response to growing threats in the Atlantic Ocean, including from Russian submarines.
Lewis said at a meeting co-hosted by the US Naval Institute and the think tank at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in February 2020.
Vanherk's remarks came just months after the Russian navy demonstrated some of its submarine capabilities. We are talking about the exercises, in which the underwater strategic missile carrier "Knyaz Vladimir" of the modernized class "Borey-A" took part, among other things.
The general's comments on both submarines and cruise missiles are also interesting, considering that the Project 949A Omsk submarine (NATO Oscar II) appeared unusually last year near a remote part of Alaska, surfacing near the island St. Matthew in the Bering Sea.
This, in turn, prompted an equally unusual public statement from the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) that it was monitoring the boat's movements.
The potential of the Yasen and Yasen-M class submarines, along with Soviet-built Russian submarines and various types of surface warships that can be used as carriers of the Zircon missiles, is cause for growing concern.
The threat posed by Russian hypersonic missiles already exists.
MDA chief Vice Admiral Hill said in separate hearings before members of the Senate Armed Services Committee last week in response to a question about the need for hypersonic defenses, especially sea-based options to protect Navy aircraft carriers.
At the hearing, Hill said that when he talked about hypersonic weapons, he was referring to a broad category that included missiles equipped with highly maneuverable accelerated gliders (gliders), air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles, and new ground-based and air-launched ballistic missiles. which reach extremely high speeds in the final phase of flight.
Hill emphasized that today all modern ballistic missile blocks fly at hypersonic speed in the final section of the trajectory. But the emerging blocks capable of maneuvering radically changed the existing picture.
- said the vice admiral.
Building on Vice Admiral Hill's statements, General Vanherk concluded by saying:.
We will not argue with General Vanherk. We will not remind you that the US Navy has “only” 70 nuclear submarines, and new, more modern ones are being built. If two "Ash" scared the general so - that is his right. It is clear that if Congress is scared well, the frightened Congressmen will fork out for new projects for the Navy.
This is an old trick, but it seems to still work in the US. So good luck to General Vanherk in his difficult task of knocking out money to fend off the threat from Russian submarines from Congress.