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American Coast Vulnerable to Attack

August 7, 2009

Russian subs off America’s coastline. Cause for concern?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. west_rhino permalink
    August 10, 2009 2:12 pm

    Hudson, the “special” ET-80’s are perhaps forgotten by most as are the Genie’s ADCOM assets carried for decimating waves of Soviet Bears and Bisons laden with “dumb” nukes… maybe potentiating some secondary airbursts with the prompt neutrons, though the overpressure seems adequate with the EMP.

  2. Hudson permalink
    August 8, 2009 1:40 am

    During the height of the Cold War, Civil Defense authorities constantly reminded us of the danger we faced. One animated black-and-white film depicted a Soviet sub launching a nuclear-armed torpedo at Manhattan. The explosion generated a giant tidal wave that swept the city away.

    Actually, it turned out that the Soviets did have nuclear-armed torps. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, U.S. destroyers pinged the Russian subs at the edge of the blockade zone. Unknown to the Kennedy administration at the time, the sub captains had orders to launch their nuke if their pressure hull was holed. The destroyers were dropping depth charges just outside the lethal zone for the subs.

    Years later, after Defense Secretary Robert McNamara left office, he traveled to Russia and met a retired sub captain who told him about the nukes. He said that when he returned home after the crisis, he was chided by his superiors for not launching his nuke torpedo. What he would have fired at off Cuban coastal waters is anyone’s guess. Miami would have been out of range. The backwash from hitting a nearby American destroyer would have sunk the sub, a really poor way of starting WWIII. But as McNamara said about the crisis, “We came very, very close to war.”

    So what if a few Russian subs cruise off our coast today. It’s nothing more than shades of the good ole bad days. Thanks for the memories.

  3. UndergradProgressive permalink
    August 7, 2009 10:23 pm

    Does it seem likely that they detected these subs with SOSUS or something of that sort?

  4. Joe permalink
    August 7, 2009 10:09 pm

    The Russian subs of today could be replaced (or joined?) by the Chinese subs of tomorrow. And the Chinese are quite dedicated to the notion of submarine construction over the coming years. This dedication coming at a time when our navy is on track to be at its smallest size in modern times.

    Does that mean war? By no means. Does that mean it would be harder to track or deter them – if the need arose? Seems like it would to me.

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 7, 2009 9:22 pm

    You caught me Undergrad! One of those old fear-mongers! I mean, besides being the greatest ship-sinkers in all of world history, what have the submarines really ever done!

  6. UndergradProgressive permalink
    August 7, 2009 6:42 pm

    I’m inclined to think that it is far from a threat. The SSNs homeported on the east coast could certainly take down an Akula. Additionally, aren’t there some Burkes, Perrys, and some Naval Air Stations with SH-60s on the coast that could deal with the subs, or at least prevent them from causing problems?

    Though fear-mongering is good ammunition for those of us who want some more ASW focus…

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