Category Archives: Maritime Security

Watch these new photos of a U.S. submarine emerging on the surface of the Arctic Ocean

Subs increasingly operating in the Arctic.

Few days ago we have published a stunning video showing a U.S. submarine breaking the ice to surface in the Arctic Circle during an exercise.

The images in this article were posted by the Royal Navy and show USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego, emerging through thick ice to report its safe transit through the Bering Strait and to re-fix the boat’s position by GPS before continuing to U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo, around 170 miles north of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.

USS Hampton is one of the subs taking part in Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016, a five-week exercise that include multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

As mentioned above, the photos were released by the Royal Navy: two officers, Lt Cdr Moreland (HMS Astute) and Lt Harris (HMS Trenchant), are operating aboard USS Hampton, looking into the equipment, training and procedures needed to allow the Royal Navy’s hunter-killer boats – Trafalgar and Astute-class boats to safely return under the ice after more than a decade.

US Submarine emerges at the North Pole

Image credit: U.S. Navy


Watch this stunning video of a U.S. nuclear submarine breaking the ice to surface in the Arctic Circle

The Los Angeles-class USS Hartford performed a North Pole surfacing.

There is no need to highlight the strategic importance of submarines.

The type of missions they can carry out is quite vast: they can escort and protect aircraft carriers, patrol the territorial waters, attack enemy warships (including enemy flattops) or merchant ships, run a blockade, gather intelligence (directly or by means of drones, even launched from a submerged position), infiltrate special forces, or launch ballistic cruise missiles (even with orders provided by “doomsday” planes and targeting guidance of electronic warfare enabled sensor-rich 5th gen. stealth multirole jets) in a conventional or nuclear land-attack scenario.

That’s why they are often operated near the most disputed waters and lands of the globe, including the Arctic Circle.

Not one but two Los Angeles-class submarines surfaced at U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo, a temporary station on top of a floating ice sheet in the Arctic last week.

The two subs, USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, Connecticut, and USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego are taking part in Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016, a five-week exercise that include multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

“Navigating, communicating and maneuvering are all different in an arctic environment as there are surfaces both above and below a submarine,” said Cmdr. Scott Luers, ice camp officer-in-tactical-command and deputy director of operations for Commander Submarine Forces in Norfolk.

According to a U.S. Navy release, submarines have conducted under-ice operations in the Arctic region for more than 50 years. The first transit occurred in 1958 and was conducted by USS Nautilus (SSN 571). The first North Pole surfacing was in March 1959 and was performed by USS Skate (SSN 578). USS Sargo (SSN 583) was the first submarine to make a winter Bering Strait transit in 1960.

Since those events, the U.S. Submarine Force has completed more than 26 Arctic exercises.

The following footage shows USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfacing in the Arctic Circle near Ice Camp Sargo during ICEX 2016.

This Infographic shows Every submarine operated by the nations of Europe and the Mediterranean

Have you ever wondered what type of subs European or Mediterranean nations operate? Here’s the answer.

Modern submarines are used for a wide variety of tasks: (attacking or) protecting aircraft carriers (as in the case of U.S. Navy subs included in Carrier Strike Groups), defending territorial waters, attacking enemy or merchant ships, running a blockade, gathering intelligence (directly or by means of drones), inserting special forces, as well as launching ballistic cruise missiles (even with targeting guidance of tactical jets) in a conventional or nuclear land attack scenario.

All the most advanced navies operate a submarine force for one or more of the above mentioned missions and in case you were wondering the type/class and number of nuke and conventional subs in in service with European and Mediterranean nations, the infographic, prepared by @Naval_Graphics, is what you were looking for.

The chart also shows the strength of the Russian Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets. Interestingly, at least one Borei-class strategic nuclear submarine is assigned to the European theater.

Borei class submarines will form the backbone for Russian Naval strategic nuclear forces by 2025-2030, replacing several other types of submarines, including the larger Typhoons. Each submarine of the Borei class will be able to carry 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, each one with a range up to 11,000 km and able to carry nuclear warheads.

Russian subs often operate near the territorial waters of northern European nations, like Sweden and the UK, with Maritime Patrol Aircraft struggling to locate and track them.

In the recent past there have been concerns that Russian Navy subs could attack key internet communications in future war scenarios, following an unsual naval activity near the locations of undersea cables.

Submarines of Europe

Credit: @Naval_Graphics

Photos show B-52s loaded with mines for simulated massive naval mine drop outside Sweden

During Baltops exercise, U.S. Air Force B-52s have also conducted mine-laying mission off the coasts of Sweden, simulating a counter-marine invasion mission.

U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, used inert MK-62 Quick Strike Mines with MK-15 tail fins to train and test the aircrew’s ability to precisely drop munitions into a target zone during Baltops exercise.

B-52 mine-laying

The two Stratofortresses were each loaded with 9 inert mines built by minemen from the Navy Munitions Command Unit Charleston and Airmen from the 5th Munitions Squadron out of Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Inert mine in B-52

The B-52 used the bombs to simulate a mission against ships supporting a naval invasion near Ravlunda, Sweden, on the Baltic Sea.

The Mk-62 mines is a Mk-82 500-lb general purpose bomb fitted with a Fin Mk 15, Fin BSU-86/B, or Tail Section Mk 16 and dropped by either a B-52H (or a B-1B – that is also capable to drop JDAMs on naval targets) at high-speed and low altitude (around 1,000 feet). Once in the water, the mine uses an MK57 Target Detection Device (TDD) to detect a ship passing above: basically, it can detect the vessel by pressure of the ship on the water, by magnetism of the ship’s metal or vibration caused by the ship.

B-52s mine-laying ex

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


Video shows Iranian Aircraft buzz U.S. Navy Destroyer, warn it to leave exercise area in Strait of Hormuz

Footage shows Iranian Naval Aviation Fokker 27 warn a U.S. Navy destroyer to leave training area

Several aircraft belonging to the the Iranian Air Force, Navy and Army are currently taking part in Joint Exercise “Mohammad Rasullollah.”

During the drills, Tehran’s maritime patrol aircraft overflying the Strait of Hormuz and Sea of Oman have had some close encounters with U.S. Navy and UAE vessels operating in the same waters.

According to Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee, a very well-known author of several publications about the Iranian air forces and a regular contributor to some of the most read aviation magazines, the first such encounters occurred on Dec. 25 and 26 when the foreign vessels were spotted by an IRIAF (Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force) P-3F serialled 5-8706.

On Dec. 28, an Iranian Naval Aviation’s Fokker 27-400M, serialled 5-2601, carrying journalists “buzzed” the U.S. Navy’s USS Gridley (DDG-101), a Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. Footage of the flybys conducted by the Iranian plane close to the American warship including radio communications was later released by FARS News Agency.

Similar encounters occur quite frequently in those waters and are almost routine: you can find several images showing Iranian, Russian or U.S. maritime patrol aircraft overflying foreign ships in the high seas all around the world.

Furthermore, foreign warships cross Iranian territorial waters in the Straits of Hormuz when entering the Persian Gulf, that’s why they are often “inspected” by Iranian Air Force and Navy planes.

Still, the footage in this post is particularly interesting as it is one of the few (if not the only) to let you hear the (quite polite) messages exchanged between the Iranian patrol aircraft and the U.S. warship.

H/T to Babak Tagvaee and for the heads-up. Footage, FARS via B. Tagvaee.