"Kursk" sisters ready for Barents Sea shooting

Two Oscar II class submarines at port at a naval base on the Kola Peninsula.

Two Oscar-II class nuclear powered submarine is part of large-scale Northern Fleet drill currently taking place outside the Kola Peninsula.

Two of the four submarines participating are nuclear powered Oscar-II multipurpose submarines, according to information posted on the Ministry of Defence’s portal.

The ill-fated “Kursk” submarine that sank while participating in the August 2000 naval drill outside Murmansk was also of the Oscar-II class. All 118 men on board were killed when “Kursk” sank after a huge explosion in the torpedo compartment.

“Practicing with missiles shootings will be carried out by the Northern fleet in the near future as part of the command and staff exercise that began on September 14th,” says navy spokesman Vadim Serga quoted by TASS.

In addition to torpedoes, the Oscar-II class submarines carry long-range cruise missiles. 

This week’s naval exercise is the first larger command post drill by the Northern fleet unified strategic command. From 2015, the Northern fleet is also in charge of Russia’s Arctic Command.

The Barents Sea exercise will last until the end of the week.

Simultaneously as submarines, aircrafts and surface vessels are sailing, flying and shooting in the Barents Sea, another group of Northern fleet vessels take part in an amphibious assault landing exercise at the New Siberia Islands. 

An Arctic brigade with 230 soldiers and 30 vehicles are onshore on the Kotelny Island in the High Arctic, the Ministry of Defence reports.