In an exclusive report published yesterday by Britain's Express newspaper, the Royal Navy has spotted and tracked three of Russia's deadliest submarines on their way to Syria to join Moscow's northern fleet already closing in to Syrian waters. Two of the subs were spotted in the Irish Sea, a narrow passage around the United Kingdom's northwestern shores. A third sub was pinged and tracked on its way through the British Channel on the UK island's eastern side.
The Express notes that "the world condemns the flotilla of Russian surface battleships on its way to the east Mediterranean," but experts warn, "it is the submarines that will unleash deadly metal rain on Syria’s last rebel stronghold."
There is, however, more to the story.
Yesterday the UK joined NATO forces in an "emergency exercise drill" in Montanegro while, literally next door, Russian troops engage in "war games" in Serbia. With Montanegro allying with the West and Serbia with Russia, they are a playground that could all too easily become a battleground igniting a major war on par, or greater in scope, than the so-called First and Second world wars in the twentieth century.
With saber rattling in eastern Europe, another reason Russia almost certainly allowed its submarines to be spotted and tracked by the Royal Navy is to further rattle its sabres on western Europe's shores.
According to the Express, the two subs passing through the Irish Sea are nuclear-powered Akula-class. These are "the boats, made famous by the blockbuster 'Hunt for Red October' starring Sean Connery." The third sub, passing through the British channel, was a diesel-powered Kilo-class boat. "While slower than their nuclear-powered counterparts , Russia’s Kilo class submarines are said to be the quietest diesel-electric submarines in the world, and are primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare."
Citing an undisclosed source for its report, the Express quoted that source.
The Akula attack submarines are the real strike force, and the Kilo boat can operate in the shallower waters of the Black Sea.
They have been kitted with the new Kalibr cruise missile. While the Admiral Kuznetsov will be the main focus of attention, it is submarines that will provide the strike capability.