Home » Aviation » U.S. Denies Attack Submarine ‘Expelled’ From Barents Sea

U.S. Denies Attack Submarine ‘Expelled’ From Barents Sea

An April 2014 photo of a Russian Ilyushin Il-38 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft. The U.S. denied reports a similar aircraft chased off a U.S. Virginia-class submarine from the Barents Sea.

An April 2014 photo of a Russian Ilyushin Il-38 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft. The U.S. denied reports a similar aircraft chased off a U.S. Virginia-class submarine from the Barents Sea.

Reports that a U.S. Navy submarine was chased from away from Russian controlled waters by Russian anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft on Aug. 7 are false, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) officials told USNI News on Monday.

“There is no truth to this story; there was no U.S. submarine in the area,” read a statement from EUCOM.
“Unknown on other nations, but it was not U.S., and we had nothing in any
boundary area on the day in question.”

The EUCOM statement follows a weekend report from Russian newswire Interfax that said Russian anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces had chased off a U.S. Virginia-class nuclear attack boat from the Barents Sea.

View Barents Sea in a larger map

Surface and air elements — including at least one Ilyushin Il-38 ASW aircraft — of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet had expelled the submarine from Russian “boundary waters,” a Northern Fleet spokesman told Interfax.

“The Northern Fleet anti-submarine forces’ active maneuvers expelled the submarine from the Russian Federation’s boundary waters,” the spokesman said.

The Barents Sea is on the Russia and Norway’s Arctic shore.

The weekend’s back and forth between the Russian Navy and EUCOM is the latest indicator of rising tensions between Western allies and Russia since the Russian seizure of the Crimea region of Ukraine in March.

Last week, Russian fighters attempted to interdict an U.S. Air Force Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint over the Baltic Sea. In April, two Russian fighters buzzed USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) in the Black Sea.

In the last two years, the Russian Navy has expanded its presence in the Arctic. The service has reactivated ten bases along the so-called North East Passage.

Likewise, the U.S. Navy often operates in the Arctic. U.S. nuclear attack boats frequently travel under the icepack to transit back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

  • Sean Maury

    Right. Russia found one of our boats? Whatever. They couldn’t find their dicks.

    • muzzleloader

      This whole story is full of holes First of all, the U.S. is not the only sub operators in that region. So are the Brits, the Swedes, and even the French. The Russian claim that the sub they “chased away” is specifically an American Virginia class boat is laughable. Their ASW gear is not that good.
      Another point is that even though it hugs the Russian coast, the Barents is still International waters, unless the so called contact was in a sensitive area.
      Lastly if a sub is detected, they evade, and U.S. subs are very good at that. the sub they “chased away” evaded them. That is what subs do.
      That sub could have very well doubled back, and still be there. LOL

      • John Allard

        Exactly what I thought when I first saw the article in RT a.k.a. Propaganda Today. You nailed it with every point I had in my head.

      • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

        You might want to check the US news headlines which routinely report the USAF as “chasing Russian aircraft away from America” when the “intercepts” take place over “international waters”.

        On the other hand, it’s gratifying to know that intimate knowledge of the capacities of Russian ASW gear is so wide-spread in the US.

        • El_KaBong

          BIG difference between a submarine and an aircraft….

    • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

      Absolutely. And in 1941 the IJN was totally incapable of attacking the USN because the Japanese couldn’t build modern ships or aircraft, the Japanese pilots were all squinty eyed, short sighted, buck-toothed, runts who wore glasses, and there was no way any “Asiatics” were the equal of Americans.

    • Waldez

      I believe Mr. Maury it was the US Navy that couldn’t find submarines off of San Diego, ask the Swedes and they have the periscope pictures to prove it. I don’t take either the US or Russian announcements very seriously just a little verbal sparring.

  • Eric Arllen

    I don’t know what is worse, them saying they chased our SSN out of the Barents Sea or us saying we didn’t have an SSN in the Barents Sea at all. The USN has become so thin that what used to be a regular 24/7 SSN hangout now seems to be a special deployment requiring the juggling of several competing commitments.

  • publius_maximus_III

    To answer such reports is to legitimize them. Best to just ignore Vlad Poot.

  • Ruckweiler

    I’m sure our submariners could deal with Russian “prosecution” in their stride even if a boat was in the area.

    • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

      Indeed they could – depending on how “vigorous” the Russians wanted to be in their “prosecution” (read as “how much risk of getting caught the Russians wanted to run”). For some reason submarines have a nasty habit of “vanishing” every so often. There is absolutely no reason for them to have vanished, but they do.

      It’s just one of those strange aspects of maritime life, I guess.

  • John Allard

    Ivan wishes he could find our ultra-silent attack boats like the Virginia-class.

    • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

      Indeed they are “ultra-silent”.

      This is why they use Canadian diesel-electric submarines as the OpFor in naval exercises.

      [OK, they use them when the RCN can actually get them running safely – but they do use them if they can get them. Why? Because they really are “ultra-silent” compared to a nuke.]

      PS – There is no such thing as “ultra-silent” magnetic fields and MADs are one of the ways that submarines are detected. (Air-dropped sonar buoys both active and passive] come AFTER a potential submarine has been detected

      • El_KaBong

        Way to troll.

        Do some research. The RCN subs are becoming operational now that their refits and modernizations are funded.

        The USN also works with other navies that have diesel-electric subs since they don’t have any of their own.

        PS – USN P-8A Poseidons don’t have MAD booms.

        PSS – How do you detect a submarine without dropping sonobuoys?

        • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

          “The RCN subs are becoming operational now that their refits and modernizations are funded.”

          Indeed, getting from 0% to 25% of the submarines able to safely unmoor is a BIG improvement.

          “The USN also works with other navies that have diesel-electric subs since they don’t have any of their own.”

          Indeed they don’t.

          And Pingers HATE Diesel/Electrics.

          “PS – USN P-8A Poseidons don’t have MAD booms.”

          The Russian Navy and Russian Air Force are flying P-8As? I didn’t know that.

          “PSS (sic) – How do you detect a submarine without dropping sonobuoys?”

          Well, you could use MADs, or you could use surface vessels, or you could use SigInt, or you could use HumInt, or you could use SatRecon, or you could …

          Oh, I forgot, the Russians don’t have any of that stuff, do they?

          • El_KaBong

            It is.

            Guess you had some other bright idea as to how a war, equipment modernization and a recession should all be dealt with?

            Somethings had to wait.

            The Russian Navy and Air Force are flying state of the equipment that can actually accomplish something?

            I didn’t know that.

            Humint? In the middle of the ocean?
            SatRecon? Do tell?
            Sigint? A submarine is transmitting what?
            Surface vessels off the Russian coast?

            Or you could use sonobuoys….

            Oh, you forgot, the Russians are a rusted out navy and air force, didn’t you?

          • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

            The funny thing about Russian equipment is that it USUALLY works (and doesn’t ALWAYS have to “go back to the shop” for repairs if it breaks). True, it doesn’t come with foxtails on every antenna and dingleballs in every window, but it does tend to work. Historically it hasn’t always been the side with the best kit that prevailed (think “Teutoburger Wald” and/or “Vietnam”).

            As for your total dismissal of all forms of intelligence, I’m not in the least bit surprised. Most people massively underestimate what can be accomplished through the intelligence channels since all they ever hear about are the catastrophic failures.

            As for the Russian Navy and Air Force, they were the method whereby the United States of America “defeated” the Soviet Union – the Russians simply couldn’t afford to compete on the same scale as the booming American economy allowed the US to build equipment. Having had to retrench, the Russians are now building as much equipment as they actually need to do what they actually want to do and they are going to continue to do so unless Mr. Putin totally screws up the country.

          • El_KaBong

            You’re basing that on what, exactly?

            A source would be nice.


            “As for your total dismissal of all forms of intelligence…”?

            I dismissed the utterly impractical ones when it comes to ASW…

            “…the Russians are now building as much equipment as they actually need to do what they actually want to do and they are going to continue to do so…”?

            Like what?

            The dozen Su-34’s?
            The ONE SSBN?

            List all of this equipment you seem to think the Russians are getting.

          • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

            Well, I’m basing my opinion on whether Russian equipment usually works on working with Russian equipment. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence isn’t evidence – right.

            “Utterly impractical” is a term of next to no meaning in the intelligence world. “Doesn’t work”, on the other hand, does have some meaning – but it does not mean “Doesn’t EVER work.”.

            “List all of this equipment you seem to think the Russians are getting.”

            Now why should I do for you, for free, what people pay me to do? [BTW, if you want to spend three or four hours per day doing actual digging through sources which don’t originate in the United States of America, you can probably be as good (if not better) analyst as anyone who works for “The Gummint” (and I don’t mean just the US government).]

          • El_KaBong

            So, you have nothing.


          • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

            Only facts and several decades of actually analyzing facts in order to make accurate projections based on reality (as opposed to what “the politicians” would like reality to be).

            What you appear to forget is that the __[fill in the blank]__ are going to do what the __[fill in the blank]__ want to do and not necessarily what you would do if you were them and they were Americans.

            If you don’t understand the “mind set” of the people whose actions you are attempting to analyze then you are only indulging in “mirror imaging” and that (generally) means that you get almost everything backwards.

            ISIS (or ISIL [or IS] – take your pick) is only doing what the Vietnamese were doing (and what Osama bin Laden was trying to do) – trying to kick the people they perceive as “colonialists” out of their country so that they can run it for themselves and for their own benefit. It doesn’t matter if the people that ISIS thinks are “colonialists” think that they are “colonialists”. What matters is that ISIS thinks that they are.

            Equally it doesn’t matter if you think that ISIS is a bunch of rather deranged fundiwhackos (I most certainly do), they don’t think that they are and they actually believe in “the cause” that they are fighting for. What you think their “cause” is is totally irrelevant to whether they believe in it.

            Strangely enough, most wars are eventually won by the side that believes in their cause the most (or, at least, is prepared to keep on fighting for their “cause” the longest.

            To an outside observer, it doesn’t appear that the (people of the) United States of America actually had very much of a “cause” when their government invaded Afghanistan and if they had a “cause” when their government invaded Iraq they are almost lacking one now.

            If the __[fill in the blank]__ party advocated sending US troops back into Iraq right now, then the odds on them electing even a significant portion of the candidates which they are going to be running in the upcoming “mid-term” elections certainly wouldn’t encourage anyone to bet the rent on it.

            BOTH parties are going to be temporizing until AFTER the votes have been counted. What they will do after that is probably 100% dependent on American public opinion polls concerning sending Americans off to die in another (probably bootless) foreign war.

            Just to make it perfectly clear, it doesn’t matter whose FAULT the current situation is – what does matter is that the current situation IS what it is.

            Unfortunately the politicians aren’t actually interested in fixing the situation (because they don’t know how [and they don’t know how because they don’t understand the people they are dealing with {and they don’t understand the people they are dealing with because they only know how to deal with Americans}]) BUT they ARE really interested in blaming anyone but a member of their own political party for creating the mess. Remember, fewer than ten members of Congress had actually read the enabling legislation and or the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act before they voted in favour of them.

          • El_KaBong

            Yup….a whole lot of nothing…

          • GP

            MAD is not a detection gear, its a localization gear. If you plan on searching an area with MAD alone, you are going to need fleets of ASW aircraft. The way you find a sub is with a sub, or with CZ searches using sonobuoys. Just a guess.

          • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

            You appear to have missed the fact that I provided several other ways of “locating” a submarine. If you know (more or less) where a submarine is, then MAD comes into play.

            Equally, you could simply be s—house lucky and find it with MAD alone (or by snaring it in a trawler’s lines).

            Fortunately the Russians don’t have the technical skills to design something like SOSUS (and even if they did they don’t have the necessary industrial skills to build it [and even if they did they don’t have anyone smart enough to operate it]). And, of course, there is absolutely no way that the Russians would be capable of launching a satellite with the capacity to do thermal imaging searches. After all, only the United States of America can do those things.

      • F’N-AW

        You have no clue what you are talking about. You use sono-bouys (not sonar) to detect and track a sub and MAD (not available on a P-8) to localize a target before attacking, as Mad only works up to a distance of 1000 yards. Unless things have changed dramatically in the 35 years I have been out of the VP Navy ASW community the chances of finding a US nuke sub is like winning 10 consecutive Powerball lotteries with the same set of numbers.

        • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

          You might not have noticed it, but I also provided several other potential ways in which the submarine might have been detected.

          One of the finest methods of keeping information secure is to bury it in other information.

          PS – Strangely enough no one is disputing that the Russians DID detect and “chase off” SOMEONE’s submarine. You might want to consider that there is a vague theoretical possibility that the Russians might conceivably have something on the order of “SONUS”.

          PPS – Indeed, things have changed in the past 35 years. Hell, they have changed in the past two years.

        • mw

          That’s right 🙂

  • The_Universal_Curmudgeon

    Absolutely true. If the Russian Navy HAD chased a US submarine out of Russian waters the Pentagon would be the first to admit it.

    Well, OK, the second because the Republicans would be all over the front pages blaming President Obama for allowing it to happen first.

  • TommyD

    “U.S. nuclear attack boats frequently travel under the icepack to transit back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.”
    I was under the impression that such transits are not frequent at all, due to the narrowness of the Bering Strait submarine channel.

  • jack anderson

    the point is that the Russians can find the Varsity of the US, why I am sure they have a firing solution on all the boomers too.

    Clearly, this news makes all US submersibles obsolete, freeing billions to build housing resorts for illegal aliens.