High-tech spy vessel carries cable-cutting gear, mini-subs
U.S. intelligence ships, aircraft, and satellites are closely watching a Russian military vessel in the Atlantic that has been sailing near a U.S. nuclear missile submarine base and underwater transit routes, according to Pentagon officials.
The Russian research ship Yantar has been tracked from the northern Atlantic near Canada since late August as it makes its way south toward Cuba.
Defense officials familiar with reports on the Russian ship say the Yantar is believed to be gathering intelligence on underwater sensors and other equipment used by U.S. nuclear submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia. The submarines, their transit lanes, and training areas stretch from the coastal base through the Atlantic to Europe.
Intelligence analysts believe the ship, one of Russia’s newest military research vessels commissioned earlier this year, is part of a larger strategic intelligence-gathering operation against U.S. nuclear missile submarines and other targets.
One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information, said the ship is a concern because it is equipped with deep-sea surveillance craft and cable-cutting equipment.