U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Andrew “Woody” Lewis said at a U.S. Naval Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies joint think tank Tuesday that the Navy no longer considers the East Coast of the United States an automatically safe area because of Russian submarine encroachment in the Atlantic Ocean.
Lewis said more Russian subs are deployed in the Atlantic, and that they operate more quietly and have more lethal weapons systems than previously.
“Our new reality is that when our sailors toss the lines over and set sail, they can expect to be operating in a contested space once they leave Norfolk,” Lewis said. “Our ships can no longer expect to operate in a safe haven on the East Coast or merely cross the Atlantic unhindered to operate in another location.”
Other reports have also noted increased Russian sub presence in the Atlantic. The subs are thought to have missiles on board that could target the U.S. East Coast if they decided to do so for any reason.
Their Atlantic presence could allow them to flood the so-called GIUK Gap – standing for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom – which refers to paths between the Norweigan Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean as well.
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