NATO Nervous as Russian Submarines Prowl Near Undersea Communication Cables

 In Foreign, Military

US Navy Rear Admiral Andrew Lennon, commander of NATO submarine forces has sounded an alarm over the recent increase in Russian submarine activity near undersea communication cables.

“We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don’t believe we have ever seen…Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations’ undersea infrastructure.” Rear Admiral Lennon

Russia has reportedly deployed submarines in the region around the undersea cables. Both standard  Russian submarines and drone submarines with the cability to cut the cables have raised the specter of a major disaster in the making.

A Yantar ship has cranes that can launch ROVs and minisubs-wikimedia commons

Financial Times reported,

“We believe they may be equipped to manipulate objects on the ocean floor,” he said, although he did not allege any such interference had occurred. “So that’s clearly a concern because our nations rely so much on the internet and communications.” Nato strategists say undersea manoeuvres can be effective “asymmetric” operations, because they tie up alliance submarines, surface ships and spotter aircraft used to track them. Undersea monitoring has also become more difficult as modern submarines are quieter and the ocean noisier because of increased commercial shipping, Admiral Lennon added.”

Even the British are concerned, because the communication and internet cables that connect them with the world are in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Daily Mail noted,

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the head of UK’s military, recently warned Britain’s economy and way of life are at ‘catastrophic’ risk from Russian submarine drones that can cut underwater cables.

He said the vital communication cables that ‘criss-cross the sea bed’ were vulnerable to Vladimir Putin’s forces.

There are fears Russia has the capability to tap, disrupt and even sever the underwater cables that link our internet and phone networks to the rest of the world. Many of those that serve Britain are in the Atlantic.

Sir Stuart said the Navy was now prioritising missions ‘to protect the sea lines of communication’ and prevent an attack that could wreak economic chaos.

Russia actually cutting the communication cables is not likely unless Vladimir Putin completely loses his mind. Tapping them for information is another matter, and very likely. Nato has moved to reestablish a command post  that was shut down during the cold war, and are rushing to boost anti-submarine capabilites, according to MSN.

 

 

Featured photo: The Sea Ghost- a Russian stealth submarine, screenshot via Sputnik

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