VLADIMIR Putin’s undersea fleet is outstripping NATO’s naval power and could topple the alliance as the world plunges towards war.
Power under the seas belongs to Russia thanks to a small but powerful fleet of submarines capable of striking across the globe, according to an expert report.
Russia has stepped up its submarine patrols to “Cold War” levels as their undersea strike force prowls the world’s oceans poised for conflict.
British waters have already been breached by the sneaky subs as they linger off the coast – reportedly approaching the Royal Navy’s sub base at Faslane, Scotland.
Anti-submarine defenses needed to stop the roving Russians simply “no longer exist” according to the naval warfare experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Andrew Metrick, the coauthor of a report, said: “Russia operates a small number of very small, nuclear powered submarines that are capable of diving in excess of several thousand meters.
“You can imagine what a clandestine deployable deep submergence vehicle could be used for.
“It’s pretty scary to think about some of the types of missions.
“It’s probably the most shadowy part of the Russian undersea apparatus. It’s not operated by their navy, it’s operated by a separate branch of their Ministry of Defense.”
Putin’s resurgent Russia may not match the Soviet Union’s subs in terms of numbers, but the report warns Moscow has a small but highly capable team of nuclear powered vessels which can dive deeper and move quieter than ever before.
The Kremlin’s operational submarine count stands at 56, compared to 240 in 1991, but the vessels are armed with electronic warfare gear, long-range cruise missiles, torpedoes and mines.
Russia’s fleet is also said to be growing while the United States brings submarines out of service faster than it can rebuild them.
The report also details how the Royal Navy is at its “lowest ebb” while it waits for the completion of its rearmament, including Britain’s biggest ever warships and a fleet of next generation battleships.
NATO needs to step up its anti-submarine capabilities to meet the growing Russia threat or face being left helpless against the advanced silent vessels, the report says.
Speaking to Breaking Defense, Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain with Center for New American Security, told Breaking Defense said: “We’re in a bad place as an alliance with regard to Russia’s underwater resurgence.”
Naval historian Norman Polmar said: “Two things have happened. One, the Russia submarines are quieter, and, two, we have dismantled a large portion of our ASW capabilities.”
Tensions between NATO and Russia are flaring as both side build up forces in the Baltic after Putin’s annexation of Crimea.
Russia is said to have the military power and will declare war “overnight” as Putin warns the Motherland will retaliate if it feels provoked.
Proxy conflicts are springing up in the Middle East as Russia bombed a British base and was involved in a pair of spats with the US Navy in the Med.