by NatSouth for The Saker Blog
Project 636.3 Kilo improved class submarine ‘Krasnodar’ made a rare southbound transit through the Bosphorus. This is due to the Montreux Convention Article 12 only allowing submarines from Black Sea coastal states to exit the Black Sea for repairs. The last time this happened was with the transit of the ‘Alrosa’ for engineering repairs in late spring 2011. The ‘Alrosa’ subsequently returned to the Black Sea in September 2012.
Ultimately, this means the ‘Krasnodar’ is going to the Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg for an overhaul. There is also a possibility of a stint in the Eastern Mediterranean, before (or after) heading for the Baltic.
There has been a gradual increase in ships going to the Eastern Mediterranean recently. The Russian Mediterranean Squadron will have soon in its ranks (up from just the 1 combatant ship):
‘Severomorsk’ – after having completed a shipyard overhaul in sunnier climes of the Black Sea.
‘Admiral Gorshkov’ en route for the first time;
And maybe the ‘Admiral Makarov’ and the Project 18280, ‘Ivan Khurs’ an AGI ship both left Sevastopol recently.
The French aircraft carrier group is now in the Eastern Mediterranean, with flight operations in support of ‘Op Chammal’ and ‘Inherent resolve’.
A frequent visitor, the US Navy and USAF are on watch in the skies over the Eastern Mediterranean. https://twitter.com/intel_sky/
It was expected that the USS Abraham Lincoln would deploy to the Mediterranean en route to the Gulf, but I cannot find any recent information on this.
Similarly, there has been an uptick in US and NATO military aircraft carrying out reconnaissance along the borders of Russia, (Baltic, Black Sea) with multiple flights being noted. https://ria.ru/20190314/
Possibly joining the French group is the UK’s ‘HMS Duncan’, recently arrived in Gibraltar where the submarine ‘HMS Ambush’ is also in port.
Today, one USAF B-52 was sent on a flight to the Baltic, turning around in international airspace off the Polish coast. This seems to be a regular yearly occurrence part of exercise BALTOPS, (2018, June 2017 and prior to that in 2016). https://twitter.com/starsandstripes/status/1106414720926605313?s=21
Maybe sending a pushback signal in response for similar Russian airforce deployments such as the Blackjack Tu-160 bomber flights into the North Sea and the Arctic and North Pacific. https://www.rferl.org/a/us-
While this was happening, US Navy P-8A Poseidon, USAF RC-135V Rivet Joint and a Swedish airforce Gulfstream Korpen were in the area. Someone certainly has a bee in their bonnet about Kaliningrad and having a heavy dose of SIGINT gathering.
Several B-52s had arrived to RAF Fairford, UK.
Fri, Mar 15, 1:37 PM (2 days ago)