Posted 1 сентября 2020,, 07:11

Published 1 сентября 2020,, 07:11

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

In memory of Crimea? Why did American submarines come to the shores of Norway

In memory of Crimea? Why did American submarines come to the shores of Norway

1 сентября 2020, 07:11
In all likelihood, the West makes it clear to the Kremlin that it has drawn the necessary conclusions from the history with Crimea, and will try to prevent its repetition in Belarus.

Victor Kuzovkov

In recent days, several events have taken place, very similar to the demonstration of force by some powers. And, what is most sad, it is not something that is being demonstrated, but the nuclear power of states. And this is exactly the case when even a subtle hint can cause confusion in any sober-minded person.

When the American multipurpose nuclear submarine "Seawolf" "lit up" off the coast of Norway, from the outside it did not look like something special. Yes, usually nuclear submarines try not to show their location until they return to base. But purely theoretically, there are various reasons for an emergency ascent - a breakdown, a serious accident, illness of one of the crew members, or even an epidemic on board. This means that no one will make sudden conclusions from the very fact of surfacing.

But almost immediately, doubts about the nature of the appearance of the "Sea Wolf" off the coast of Norway were dispelled by the American Vice Admiral DarrylKodel:

“The transfer of the Seawulf from Bangor to the jurisdiction of the US Sixth Fleet demonstrates the global combat power of America's submarine forces. Our soldiers are the best in submarine warfare in the world and have unrivaled capabilities designed to strengthen our fleet and increase the effectiveness of the combined forces in competition and conflict".

Why should we be concerned about this? For several reasons. First of all, the coast of Norway is a kind of mandatory transit point on the way of American submarines to patrolling places of Russian strategic missile submarines. And this in itself is an extremely sensitive issue for our security.

But it is also important that "Seawolf" is one of the most advanced hunting submarines in the world. Yes, this is a submarine of an earlier series than the current main American multipurpose nuclear submarine Virginia, but the characteristics inherent in it are still unsurpassed in many respects. In part, this even became a problem and a weak point of the submarine - due to the technical complexity, it turned out to be so expensive that the Americans even refused to complete the entire planned series of 30 pieces, and limited themselves to only three boats. Their cost was $ 4.3 billion per unit, which is an absolute record for all fleets. By comparison, the later Virginia is worth roughly $ 2.5 billion, while the later boats in the series are even slightly cheaper. And this despite the fact that the dollar has dropped a little over the past quarter century...

The main combat quality of a modern submarine is noiselessness. And "Sea Wolf" is the unofficial champion of this indicator. The technologies used in the creation of the boat allow it to move almost silently under water at a speed of 20 knots, while most of its brethren, even at underwater speeds of 5-10 knots, are already louder. If you add to this traditionally the best sonar equipment and modern torpedo weapons, you get an unsurpassed underwater hunter, able to find an enemy submarine, covertly approach it and strike before it detects a threat. This is even more true of our SSBNs - very powerful, but not the most secretive submarines.

Of course, in submarine warfare, not everything is so simple and unambiguous, and our underwater "strategist", most likely, will not be alone - another multipurpose nuclear submarine or diesel-electric boat can guard it. But the very need to protect our strategic naval forces not only from surface ships and aircraft speaks volumes.

It is clear, of course, that the American nuclear submarine "Seawolf" is not the first time in this area - strictly speaking, this is the place of almost constant work of these submarines. There is no doubt about this, if only because they have no other tasks of comparable complexity and importance. Perhaps the growing Chinese fleet may be the object of similar scrutiny, but it has become a serious threat to Americans only in the last decade. That is, these submarines were frequent guests of the Barents Sea, and this fact is nothing new. But the demonstration of presence is so rare that it deserves special mention.

It is also interesting that the boat "spotted" off the Norwegian coast is based on the US West Coast. That is, generally on the other side of the globe. And the waters of the Pacific, not the Atlantic Ocean, are more familiar to her. Its common, albeit potential, adversaries are our Pacific Fleet and the Chinese. And the transfer to the Atlantic means not just a maneuver, but the strengthening of the Atlantic group of US anti-submarine weapons.

Why was it done? More on this later. In the meantime, we note that the Russian command received and understood the signal. And she answered her own - the Russian multipurpose nuclear submarine "Omsk" surfaced near the coast of Alaska, posed in front of the cameras of satellites and reconnaissance aircraft, and then just as quietly plunged and departed in an unknown direction. And it's far from a fact that the base, by the way...

The fact that this was precisely a response signal can be judged by the fact that there were no accidents at the Omsk, no seriously ill crew members, or other reasons for an emergency ascent. This was a demo in response to a demo. The only thing worth noting is that it took place in a somewhat less critical area from the point of view of US security. But since Americans, in principle, are very nervous about such things, let's consider these attacks conditionally equivalent.

Now the main question is: what can a nuclear submarine signaling when it pops up where a potential enemy would not at all want to see it? Variants like “hurray, found a fishy spot, surfaced to mark in the navigator” can be excluded immediately. And then it turns out that we are dealing with a demonstration of strength. And, apparently, an emergency demonstration ...

But if only that... On August 28, the US Air Force added its contribution to the demonstration of high combat readiness of its nuclear forces. 4 strategic bombers B-52H took off from the Fairford base of the British Royal Air Force and made a kind of "perimeter flight" along the eastern borders of the NATO bloc. Fighters of almost all NATO countries took part in the escort and cover of strategic bombers, with the exception, perhaps, of the Baltic states and other dwarfs that do not have their own fighter aircraft.

Here, too, two circumstances are remarkable. First, the bombers were transferred to Great Britain from the United States. This is, albeit temporary (although no one promises anything), but the strengthening of American nuclear forces in Europe. Which also looks a little like a signal, don't you agree?

The second is participation in the event of fighter aircraft of other NATO states. In general, there is nothing shameful in this, but the scale ... The Americans, of course, have enough forces and means to cover their bombers in all phases of the flight. Therefore, everything that was happening was more like a signal to our junior NATO partners - you and I, our bombers with Tomahawks and nuclear bombs are on guard for your safety...

But why might all this be necessary?

There is only one intelligible answer to this question - the aggravation of the situation in Minsk. The Americans are showing Moscow that they take the threat seriously and are ready for any Kremlin action. And at the same time they reassure their allies, who probably do not really want to be drawn into a conflict between two global players over an Eastern European country that is not particularly important for them.

They make it clear to the Kremlin that the White House and the Pentagon have drawn the necessary conclusions from the history of Crimea, and they will try to prevent its repetition. They also show how far things can go if Moscow crosses the "red line". So far away that it would be better not to try ...

Is Washington bluffing? Yes, this is very similar. With all due respect to him, it is hard to believe that the United States will decide on a global conflict over the Belarusian protests. Why, it’s almost impossible to believe it...

But there is one caveat - a bluff is such a thing that you never know until the end whether your opponent is bluffing or really has strong trump cards in his hands. Given that the British and Americans have been playing geopolitical poker for hundreds of years, they know how to bluff. And they shuffled the deck themselves...

If anything, it looks like Washington was able to respond to Putin's "siloviki reserve". And to answer seriously, at once pumping up the stakes to the almost unthinkable. It is not clear yet how the Kremlin will be able to answer...

But it is clear that the situation in Minsk has not yet been exhausted. It is clear that any provocations from both sides are possible in the future. And this, even if you are skeptical about the possibility of a global conflict over Belarus, the saddest thing is that Moscow and Washington are fighting again, and sparks are flying from the eyes of the inhabitants of Minsk...