Texas Senator Cornyn Demands Answers on Russian Sub in Gulf of Mexico

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to the Houston Chronicle, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has written a letter to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, about reports that a Russian attack submarine operated in the Gulf of Mexico in June and July undetected.

Report of Russian attack submarine in the Gulf of Mexico

Bill Gertz, a longtime military analyst, broke the original story in the Washington Free Beacon. According to his sources, an Akula class attack submarine operated freely and without detection in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks in June and July. That the Akula's presence in the Gulf of Mexico was determined only after she had left the area exposes deficiencies in the United States Navy's anti-submarine warfare capabilities. Gertz notes that the Obama defense budget calls for the scrapping of 10 P-8 anti submarine warfare jets that could be used to detect and, if necessary, sink submarines such as the Akula. Shipbuilding has also been drastically reduced under Obama administration defense plans.

Akula attack sub advanced

According to Naval Technology.com, the Russian Navy is known to have 14 Akula class submarines, some designated as Akula 1 and some, more advanced and stealthy, the Akula 2. It is unknown at this time whether the submarine that operated in the Gulf of Mexico was an Akula 1 or an Akula 2. The main armament of an Akula are 12 SS-N-21 cruise missiles with a range of 3,000 kilometers and with a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead. The Akula is also equipped with a number of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, the former of which can also be nuclear-tipped. The submarine also has the capability to launch torpedoes and anti-ship mines. The Akula is nuclear powered with a diesel reserve power system.

Cornyn's letter demands answers

Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has demanded an explanation of the press reports of the submarine incursion, which was apparently accompanied by Russian bomber flights in restricted American airspace. Cornyn points out, as does the account in the Washington Free Beacon, that the Russian military operations so close to American shores constitutes a new, aggressive military stance being conducted by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cornyn goes on to express concerns about Obama administration budget cuts that, in his view, will seriously hamper the ability of the United States military to respond to such incursions.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network .

View Comments (1180)