CDR (ret.) Eyal Pinko, Ph.D.
A Russian submarine has disappeared from the screens of the U.S. Navy
In recent days, there has been a large-scale and mysterious operation of the U.S. naval reconnaissance aircraft off the coasts of Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria. The U.S. Navy's Poseidon P-8 reconnaissance aircraft exceptionally patrols, which have raised several questions.
A somewhat strange and seemingly unrelated press release was added to the unusual patrol operations. On the U.S. navy's Twitter page appeared that the U.S. Navy operates in the Mediterranean with Israeli Navy missile boats to strengthen naval security and cooperation between navies.
In February 2021, a B-237 Rostov-on-Don (improved Kilo) Russian submarine crossed the Gibraltar straits and headed for the Mediterranean Sea after operating near the British Isles near British submarine bases. The Russian submarine was accompanied by a Russian auxiliary ship, which its tracks disappeared.
The British navy tracked the submarine until it entered the Mediterranean, and from there, it was tracked by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, based in Naples.
A few days ago, the submarine disappeared from the U.S. Navy command and control systems' screens, and its traces have not been known since.
The Russian submarine is a diesel-powered submarine with a displacement of 3,000 tons and 74 meters long. The submarine has 45 days of operational endurance capability and an operational range of 7,500 nautical miles from its base. The submarine operates at a maximum depth of 300 meters by a crew of 60 people. The submarine has advanced intelligence-gathering capabilities.
The submarine is equipped with 18 torpedos, 24 naval mines, and four 3M54K (Caliber) land-attack cruise missiles within a maximum range of 2,500 km.
The Russian submarine disappeared, unlucky (or unprofessionally) when a U.S. Navy battle group entered the Mediterranean and began its operations there. The U.S. Navy battle group includes an aircraft carrier, several battleships, and at least one nuclear submarine. This issue raises the U.S. Navy concerns, especially concerning the Russian submarine's ability to gather intimate intelligence about the battle group's activities and operations.
The U.S. Navy has also deployed other NATO forces stationed near Syria and the British intelligence base in Cyprus, searching for the Russian submarine.
As mentioned, until the evening of Wednesday, March 17, the Russian submarine was not located.
Since the Cold War days, the U.S. Navy has been following closely and consistently Russian submarines' activity worldwide. In this case, it seems that the U.S. concern about not finding the Russian submarine and the large-scale operational activity to locate it are exceptional and questionable.
The Russian submarine probably has special capabilities, special features, or operational missions in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean that are causing the U.S. Navy great concerns, especially while the U.S. Navy battle group is in the arena.