US Military Tracks Russian Fleet Near Florida in ‘Submarine Hunter’ Operation

Additional Coverage:

On Tuesday, U.S. Navy planes specially designed for detecting submarines were dispatched in a series of rapid missions over Florida in response to a Russian naval convoy navigating close to the U.S.

East Coast. Flight data visualizations from Flightradar24 revealed that several P-8A Poseidon aircraft, nicknamed “submarine hunters,” were deployed to the area, focusing their operations around Florida.

These aircraft, operating from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, took turns patrolling the Florida Straits and adjacent international waters, ensuring continuous surveillance. They were tracking a Russian naval group, which included a nuclear-powered submarine and three surface ships headed towards Havana, merely 100 miles south from Florida’s Key West.

This move by Russia is seen as an assertive display of its military capabilities in the Atlantic, undeterred by its engagements in Ukraine. Russia’s Defense Ministry, however, has not commented on these developments.

The Russian naval contingent conducted live-fire exercises, practicing missile strikes at targets presumed to be 370 miles away. They were expected to reach Havana, Cuba, by Wednesday and leave by June 17.

U.S. defense sources have indicated that the U.S. has been vigilantly monitoring these Russian vessels as they cross the Atlantic, within international waters. The tracking was part of broader efforts by the U.S.

Northern Command, along with the Navy’s Second and Fourth Fleets, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Canada’s Joint Task Force Atlantic, which regularly conduct operations across the Atlantic to safeguard North America.

Despite these activities, the Pentagon described the Russian naval movements as normal and not posing any immediate threat to the United States. Similarly, State Department officials predicted an increase in Russian naval and air presence near U.S. territories, leading up to a major global Russian naval drill later this year.

The Russian fleet making the port call in Havana consists of the Yasen-M-class submarine Kazan, the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, equipped with Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, the Academic Pashin replenishment tanker, and the Nikolay Chiker tugboat. Although the Gorshkov can carry nuclear weapons, Cuba assured that the visiting ships would not bring nuclear arms, thus not constituting a regional threat. This visit underscores the enduring friendly ties between Russia and Cuba.

The P-8A Poseidon aircraft, participating in the monitoring efforts, have a crew capacity of nine, with the ability to deploy torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. They boast an operational range of over 4,500 miles and can be air-refueled. Boeing Defense, Space & Security has produced nearly 180 of these aircraft for various global naval and air forces, including those of the U.S., India, Britain, and Australia.

As the Russian ships progressed, they were not only tracked by the P-8A Poseidons but also by other U.S. military assets, suggesting coordinated effort to stay ahead of the Russian maneuvers. The U.S. military emphasizes its mission to maintain peace, uphold international law, and ensure freedom of navigation across global seas, advocating for a safe and professional maritime conduct by all nations.

*Update as of 6/12/24, 9:25 a.m. ET: The article has been updated to include new statements.

Read More About This Story: