There are reports surfacing about a Russian attack submarine that sailed into the Gulf of Mexico undetected and patrolled the waters off the United States shores for weeks.
The Russian Akula-class nuclear attack submarine ventured undetected in the Gulf of Mexico and was able to operate for weeks before being discovered only after it had left the area, raising concerns over gaps in U.S. patrols off American coasts, according to reports in The Washington Free Beacon, which cited unnamed sources.
This incident is the second time that a Russian submarine has sailed close to U.S. shores since 2009.
Reports indicate that the incident occurred during the same period of time Russian aircraft flew inside restricted U.S. airspace, highlighting that the Russian military may be trying to show its prowess in the region.
The realization that an armed military vehicle was able to get so close to U.S. shores sheds light on what have long been considered holes in the U.S. anti-submarine patrols, according to U.S. officials.
These same defense programs are being threatened with budget cuts under the Obama administration's plan to reduce spending on defense by more than $450 billion over the next decade.
Akula-class submarines, which were originally developed by the Soviet Union in the 1980s as a direct competitor to the U.S. Navy's nuclear Los Angeles-class submarines, are still the most advanced attack submarines that Russia has in its Navy.
While the incident will surely bring a little embarrassing to the U.S. Navy, which is responsible for patrolling for threats off American shore, and it will make a strong case for increased defense spending.
Undersea sensors, satellites and aerial patrols are all used to locate and track possible threats in American waters, but this incident showcases deficiencies found in U.S. border patrol operations.
The U.S. Navy still has plans to increase its fleet of Littoral Combat Ships. Although the number of ships has not been released, rumors have stated that the number of new war ships could be between as high as 60.