Northern fleet to sail southern waters

Russia's only aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" at port in Murmansk.

For the first time since the collapse of the USSR, ballistic missile submarines from Russia’s Kola Peninsula will next year patrol oceans on the southern hemisphere. And Murmansk-based aircraft-carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will by year-end sail to the Mediterranean.


The Russian Navy “will not only continue the patrolling of the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,” but also return to the regions in the southern hemisphere which were patrolled by Soviet subs until the dissolution of the USSR in the 90s, a naval source told RT on Sunday.

The Northern fleet’s newest ballistic missile submarine “Yury Dolgoruky” was officially put into service in January this year, but has so far stayed at port in Severodvinsk where she was built. Later this year, two other Borei-class submarines, the “Aleksandr Nevsky” and the “Vladimir Monomakh” will also join the Northern fleet and be based in Gadzhiyevo on the coastline between Murmansk and Russia’s border to Norway.

Quoted by RT, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, says that there is a necessity to launch missiles across the South Pole, “it is technically possible” to do so. 

The Antarctic Treaty specifically prohibits military activity on land or ice shelves below 60°S. While the use of nuclear weapons is absolutely prohibited, the Treaty does not apply to naval activity within these bounds in the Southern Ocean so long as it takes place on the high seas.

Russia’s current fleet of Delta-IV ballistic missile submarines last year sailed only five deterrent patrols, mainly in Arctic waters, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.

It is not only the ballistic missiles submarines of the Northern fleet that are heading south. Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov told reporters on Saturday that the Northern fleet’s aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” by the end of 2013 is ready to act as part of a Russian naval group in the Mediterranean, reports Russia Beyond the Headlines.

Russia is currently establishing a permanent operational naval group in the Mediterranean, consisting of vessels from the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets.