US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Will the Russian submarine Khabarovsk become a new challenge for NATO? Yes. Will it change the current balance of power? No.
I write about this in the light of the upcoming sea trials of Khabarovsk. Initially, the tests were scheduled for late June, but were postponed indefinitely. However, given the pivotal role of submarines in the military policy of Vladimir Putin, it will be deployed as soon as possible. Russian officials, speaking of a submarine, do not hide their glee.
What is the danger for NATO and America?
HI Sutton, an excellent submarine warfare analyst, called this boat a new and difficult opponent and suggested that it will largely determine the 2020s. Sutton emphasizes that Khabarovsk will be armed with a Poseidon nuclear unmanned torpedo (Kanyon according to NATO classification). This torpedo system is designed to destroy American cities and naval bases in wartime.
I worry about this much less.
Although Khabarovsk is more impressive than other submarines of the Russian fleet, it will not change the balance of forces.
Firstly, the hull design and acoustic characteristics of Khabarovsk coincide with Russian nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) of project 955 Borei. Although, thanks to the Borea, the Russian strategic threat has crossed the limits of the capabilities of the late Soviet period, these submarines are still inferior to the American, British and French counterparts. The acoustic signature of the Northwind class boats has already been recorded by the US Navy and can, if necessary, deploy close surveillance. The same is true for Khabarovsk – as soon as sea trials begin in the immediate vicinity of the Barents Sea.
Even the Poseidon nuclear system cannot be called a critical problem.
This system is designed to undermine NATO’s strategic nuclear potential in the gray zone between full-scale nuclear war and conventional conflict. Fortunately, the United States has strengthened its ability to counter this threat. This is primarily due to the decision of the Trump administration to create nuclear forces, – among other things, submarines that can measure forces with Russia in the field of limited nuclear war have also entered there.
Nevertheless, other steps have yet to be taken to strengthen the deterrent effect. President Trump (or, Joe Biden, if he wins) must make it clear that any nuclear strike by Russia on the mainland of the United States (whether in the city or the naval base) will entail increased nuclear retaliation and a strike on Russian mainland targets. Putin knows that he cannot win a full-scale nuclear war with America, so the establishment of clear red lines of containment and escalation may be a decisive factor.
In this regard, one more point should be noted.
Russia cleverly focused its resources on submarine warfare. In recent years, the Russian fleet has significantly improved its operational pace and radius of underwater operations. Among other things, Moscow is able to disable communication cables and mobilize SSBNs in the Atlantic Ocean in a short time.
The United States must draw conclusions from this.
Underwater superiority is still with the U.S. Navy, but their procurement system is too tight. If the ranks of command was more original thinkers and strategists such as John Paul Jones (John Paul Jones) and Horatio Nelson (Horace Nelson), they would have drastically reduced operation involving aircraft carrier groups and put to far more resources into new underwater sensor and combat platforms both manned and unmanned.
Alas, until a war breaks out with China and a whole aircraft carrier sunk by ballistic missiles sinks to the bottom, they may not even see clearly.
So far, the conclusion is this: the advantage under water is still on the side of America, but for how long – it is not known.
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