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U.S. General Sounds The Alarm, Says Russia Will Soon Have Nuclear Attack Submarines Parked On U.S. Coasts

During a hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, General Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, revealed that Russia could deploy their most powerful and silent nuclear attack submarines to patrol off either U.S. coast within the next two years.

The general was responding to concerns raised by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) regarding the threat posed by Chinese and Russian cruise missile submarines operating in close proximity to the U.S. According to General VanHerck, Russian Yasen-class nuclear cruise missile attack boats have been deploying more frequently.


“[The risk is] absolutely increasing. Within the last year, Russia has also placed their [Yasens] in the Pacific,” he explained. “Now not only the Atlantic, but we also have them in the Pacific and it’s just a matter of time – probably a year or two – before that’s a persistent threat, 24 hours a day. … That impact has reduced decision space for a national senior leader in a time of crisis.”

The Yasen-class submarines he spoke of are a series of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) designed to be multipurpose submarines. They’re capable of conducting a range of missions, including anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, and special operations support.

“Russia has modernized their fleet of icebreakers,” he explained. “They’ve modernized their strategic defense along with their submarine forces. China is sailing into the Arctic under the guise of research [missions] and we know they’re doing military operations, surveying the seabed.”

The submarines are considered to be some of the most advanced and capable submarines in the world. They are equipped with advanced sensors and weapons systems, including torpedoes, cruise missiles, and anti-ship missiles, as well as a vertical launch system for cruise missiles.

The first Yasen-class submarine, the Severodvinsk, was commissioned in 2014, and several more have been launched since then. The submarines are designed to be quieter than previous generations of Russian submarines, making them more difficult to detect and track.

VanHerck is a four-star general in the United States Air Force who currently serves as the commander of the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He assumed command of these two organizations in August 2020.

“We’re not organized, trained and equipped to operate and respond in the Arctic. Infrastructure is a big concern for me, whether that be runway links, whether that be buildings, whether that be weapons storage, whether that be fuel storage,” VanHerck said. “We need persistence that requires icebreakers. We as a nation are in bad shape regarding icebreakers, and I fully support the Coast Guard’s plan. We need to go faster.”



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