Reports have begun to surface that suggest Russia is doubling down not only on their use of nuclear submarines, but on the importance of hypersonic-capable missile platforms, as they appear to be adjusting their defense budget to fast track the development of eight new nuclear missile submarines purpose built for the next generation of Russian missile technology. Unlike many high profile Russian defense initiatives, these new submarines may actually be more substance than theater, as they are expected to enter into service as soon as 2024.
According to an anonymous source cited first by CNBC, a new U.S. intelligence report shows that Russia has begun reallocating funds away from ongoing maintenance and modernization efforts on things like the Russian Navy’s surface fleet, shifting that money instead toward expediting production on their new Borei II class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines. According to their source, Russia expects to have as many as eight of these state-of-the-art subs already in service by 2024, each armed with 20 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles. Each Bulava is capable of carrying as many as 10 warheads, including hypersonic gliders that American missile defense systems currently have no way to intercept.
While NEWSREP has been unable to independently corroborate CNBC’s claims, this shift in emphasis seems in keeping with recent Russian defense strategy. In March, Russia announced that state media outlets would be producing a docu-drama based on a real Russian military exercise they claim took place sometime last year. According to statements made by the Russian military and the show’s producers, Russian nuclear attack submarines were dispatched to America’s East coast and tasked with parking just outside prominent American naval bases undetected. Once successful, the unknown number of Russian submarines then left the area, again evading detection as they traveled back into the North Atlantic. The United States did not issue a formal statement regarding Russia’s claims, but quickly moved to bring the Navy’s 2nd Fleet back into operation — a Naval presence tasked specifically with defense of the Eastern seaboard and policing of the North Atlantic.
In the intervening months, repeated reports have come from U.S and U.K. defense officials regarding a steep increase in Russian submarine activity throughout the Atlantic.