Russian attack submarine slipped past US Navy and patrolled Gulf of Mexico for weeks undetected

Daily Mail – August 15, 2012

A Russian attack submarine slipped into the Gulf of Mexico undetected and sailed through US strategic waters for weeks without the US Navy noticing, it was reported on Wednesday.

The US military didn’t even know about the presence of the Akula-class nuclear submarine earlier this year until after it had already left the gulf, still carrying a payload of long-range missiles.

The revelation is part of a startling trend of Russian incursions as the former Cold War foe ramps up its military might under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news site, quoted anonymous military sources as saying the sub was in the gulf for a month.

The exact time frame of the vessel’s presence was not clear.

‘The Akula was built for one reason and one reason only: To kill US Navy ballistic missile submarines and their crews,’ a source told the Beacon.

The US Navy’s Atlantic submarine fleet is based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on the coast of southern Georgia.

Akula-class subs are designed to run fast and quietly. They are equipped with torpedoes, mines and cruise missiles.

Russia has a fleet of nine of the vessels, which are 360 feet long and are powered by a pressurized water nuclear reactor.

The last time a Russian sub was spotted this close to the US was in 2009, when a pair of the subs were discovered patrolling off the east coast.

‘Sending a nuclear-propelled submarine into the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean region is another manifestation of President Putin demonstrating that Russia is still a player on the world’s political-military stage,’ Norman Polmar, a naval intelligence consultant, told the Beacon.

In June, a fleet of Russian strategic nuclear bombers conducted a training operation in the Arctic without notifying the American military.

Then, in July, a Bear H strategic bomber, capable of carrying cruise missiles, entered American airspace near California. US Air Force fighter jets had to be scrambled to meet the plane and turn it back.

‘It’s a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow. While the president is touting our supposed “reset” in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether it’s in Syria or here in our own backyard,’ Republican Sen John Cornyn told the Beacon.

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