Russian Pacific Fleet is extremely vulnerable to US nuclear submarines of the fourth generation.
In February of this year, an American nuclear submarine of the Virginia class violated Russia’s maritime borders and secretly observed Pacific Fleet manoeuvres, which alarmed Moscow. After being discovered, the American submarine ignored the request from the Russian side, even it secretly moved “in front of the nose” of the fleet without any problems. The Russian Defense Ministry said the incident posed a direct threat to national security. The above opinion is highly agreed, because American submarines are equipped with nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 2,000 km. In theory, such a submarine could eliminate Russia’s strategic arsenal.
As is known, the potential rivals of Russia in the East are Japan and the United States. At the same time, Moscow is having a dispute with Tokyo regarding the Kuril Islands (Tokyo calls it the Northern Territories) and the alignment of forces in the region is completely not in Russia’s favor. Just looking at the Japanese Navy, the disparity is clear as they have 2 light aircraft carriers, 2 helicopter carriers, 12 large destroyers, 29 medium destroyers, 6 frigates and 21 submarines diesel-electric, as well as a large number of modern stealth fighters and anti-submarine aircraft.
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet is also stationed in Japan. This means that Tokyo can rely on the aircraft carrier George Washington, two Ticonderoga-class cruisers, seven Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, three multi-role nuclear submarines. Regarding the forces of the Russian Pacific Fleet in the Sea of Okhotsk, it is fair to say that in terms of surface ships, Moscow is seriously inferior to the US-Japan alliance, especially in the current situation.
The shortage is even greater when just a week ago, the Varyag missile cruiser and the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs of the Pacific Fleet sailed for the Mediterranean. While the large amphibious assault ship Admiral Vinogradov is currently being modernized, Russia expects it to be equipped with Caliber, Onyx, Zircon and Uran missile systems.
Therefore, among the large surface ships, the Pacific Fleet can only boast of the Project 956 Bystry destroyer, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev and the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov. Of course, it is impossible not to understand that the main force of the Pacific Fleet is made up of strategic nuclear submarines carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.
we are talking about a rather old missile submarine K-44 Ryazan, as well as 3 fourth-generation submarines of Project 955 Borey: K-550 Alexander Nevsky, K-551 Vladimir Monomakh and K- 552 “Prince Oleg”. The fleet is about to receive two more similar ships, Generalissimo Suvorov and Emperor Alexander III.
In addition to nuclear submarines, the Pacific Fleet also has conventional diesel-electric submarines. Many people think that once they go out to sea, they can target both Tokyo and Washington at the same time, which is absolutely true.
However, the US is also fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Pacific Fleet and to deal with the attack capabilities of Russian submarines, Japan and the US have created the strongest anti-submarine force in the region. The US-Japanese coalition based here has in service a large number of anti-submarine aircraft, multi-purpose destroyers and frigates, aircraft carriers and anti-submarine helicopters, as well as other anti-submarine ships.
In particular, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet has three Los Angeles-class multi-purpose nuclear submarines that can conduct reconnaissance, attack surface ships as well as submarines, and conduct special operations. Finally, the incident in the Sea of Okhotsk showed that this time another American Virginia-class submarine of a more advanced type had quietly appeared, carrying a formidable weapon of 26 torpedoes and 12 cruise missiles. Tomahawk program.
I am certain that the appearance of such a submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk exposed an unprotected hole in the defenses of the Pacific Fleet and the entire Russian Far East as a whole.
Lacking the right number of surface ships, Russia is forced to put its bulky strategic submarines up to par with one of the most “elite hunters” underwater, the Virginia-class submarines. Of course, the US Navy did not intend to attack during this reconnaissance, but they showed directly to Moscow that there was still a lot of work to be done before the eastern area was reliably covered.