Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Russian subs honing stealth skills in major North Atlantic drill, says Norwegian intel

At least eight nuclear-powered submarines sailed out from their homeports on the Kola Peninsula last week, the Norwegian military intelligence says to NRK.
October 29, 2019


The aim of the massive operation is to get as far out to the North Atlantic as possible without being discovered by NATO, the intelligence service informs to NRK. Such maneuvers haven’t been seen from the Northern Fleet since the days of the Cold War.

The operation started early last week, before Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Commander of the Northern Fleet, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Moiseyev visited Kirkenes in northern Norway last Friday.

Lavrov had bilateral talks with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide and the two said at the following press conference that security situation in northern Europe was one talking point.


Sergey Lavrov and Ine Eriksen Søreide at the joint press conference in Kirkenes last Friday. Photo: Thomas Nilsen



On Saturday, the Barents Observer reported about two of the Sierra-class submarines of the Northern Fleet sailing towards the Norwegian Sea for deep-sea dive tests and weapon tests. The two submarines are the «Pskov» and «Nizhny Novgorod», both built with a titanium-hull.

Eight of the ten submarines now at sea are nuclear-powered, the intelligence service says to NRK.

The intelligence service claim to have «a decent control» over where the submarines are in the sea.

  • Two nuclear submarines are west of the Bear Island, between Svalbard and Finnmark, the northernmost part of mainland Norway.
  • Two submarines are south and east of the Bear Island, guarding the entrance to the eastern part of the Barents Sea.
  • Two Sierra-class nuclear submarines are training in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea.


Bjørnøya (Bear Island) is halfway between mainland Norway and Svalbard. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


Normally, the ballistic missile submarines are patrolling the eastern Barents Sea or under the ice-cap in the Arctic.

It is known that the Delta-IV class sub «Karelia» on October 17th launched a ballistic missile from the Barents Sea as part of the annual large-scale strategic missile drill, as reported by the Barents Observer


Russian Delta-IV submarine in the Barents Sea. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


NRK reports that the operation is supposed to last for 60 days. If so, the submarines will be back in port before New Years celebrations and the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

The Norwegian intelligence service informs to NRK that Russia with the operation is aimed at showing the United States that the country is able to threaten the east coast by protecting the bastion in such a way that the ballistic missile submarines can launch nukes targeted at the USA.

Russia wants to test NATO’s ability to discover and handle such operation, the intelligence service tells NRK.


Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Moiseyev (left) and Norway’s Chief of Defense Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen in Kirkenes on October 25th. Photo: Thomas Nilsen




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