Silent Hunters: Pair of Russian Nuclear Subs ‘Attack’ One Another in Barents Sea

© © Russian Defence MinistryNizhny Novgorod Submarine
Nizhny Novgorod Submarine - Sputnik International
The pair of Project 945A Kondor (NATO reporting name ‘Sierra II’) subs spent several days engaging in drills against both one another and a conditional adversary over the space of several days.

The Pskov and the Nizhny Novgorod, a pair of nuclear-powered fast-attack subs from Russia’s Northern Fleet, recently staged tactical drills in the Barents Sea, including an underwater ‘duel’ in which they fired dummy torpedoes at one another, the Northern Fleet’s press office told Russia’s RBC newspaper.

“The most difficult and crucial stage of the joint undersea manoeuvres was the implementation of torpedo firing at underwater targets. The crews carried out this exercise in duelling mode,” the press office said.

Along with the underwater duel, the drills saw the subs search for and pursue one another, and attempted to fool their conditional adversary using jamming and false targets.

Norwegian state media reported last week on the presence of two Russian Sierra II submarines in the northern Norwegian Sea, presumably for training in deep sea operations and the testing of new weaponry. According to the NRK broadcaster, upwards of 10 Russian subs were expected to be involved in the drills, aimed in part at moving silently from their bases in the Kola Peninsula to the Norwegian Sea.

Project 945A Kondor, successor to Project 945 Barrakuda, is a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine recently characterised by the National Interest as ‘The Best Submarine You never Heard Of’. Russia’s Northern Fleet possesses the only two subs of this class, built in 1990 and 1993, respectively.

Armed with conventional anti-ship torpedoes, the submarines are also known to carry the Granat land attack cruise missile, as well as Vyuga anti-submarine missile systems, and 200 kt anti-sub depth charges. Due to their nuclear propulsion system and the use of titanium alloys in the their hulls, Project 945A submarines are known for their stealthy characteristics at depths of up to 600 meters.

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