A fleet from the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy has begun an extensive training exercise focused on long-range strike capabilities during its journey towards Cuba, bringing it within 350 kilometers of the United States’ coastline. This group includes two powerful combat ships: the Kazan, a nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Yasen-M Class, and the Admiral Gorshkov, a frigate of the Gorshkov Class. These vessels are among Russia’s most advanced in both surface and submarine warfare.

As reported by the Russian Defense Ministry, these ships have conducted simulated long-range strikes against naval targets situated over 600 kilometers away. Earlier exercises by the Admiral Gorshkov involved scenarios of countering air raids using its artillery and anti-aircraft systems.

The deployment of these ships to Cuba is widely viewed as Russia’s reaction to increased U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, including the supply of longer-range missiles capable of reaching targets within Russia, as well as the provision of personnel and targeting data via aircraft and satellites for supporting such operations.

Both the Yasen-M Class submarines and Gorshkov Class frigates are equipped with a formidable array of cruise missiles, including the hypersonic Zircon, the P-800 anti-ship missile, the 3M54 Kalibr anti-ship missile, and the 3M14 Kalibr anti-surface missile. Since 2019, the Navy has prioritized the deployment of Zircon missiles on these ships. The Zircon is renowned for its exceptional capabilities, boasting a speed of Mach 9 and a range of 1,000 kilometers.

If launched from positions near Cuba, these missiles could potentially target areas throughout much of Florida and beyond. The first launch of a Zircon missile from a Yasen Class submarine occurred in October 2021, following an initial launch from a Gorshkov Class frigate in February 2020.

The Russian Navy currently operates three Gorshkov Class frigates and four Yasen-M Class attack submarines, with additional units under construction—five more frigates and four more submarines. As a ship from each class approached the United States, the U.S. Navy deployed two destroyers and two support ships equipped with sonar systems to monitor them closely. This maneuver potentially allowed the U.S. to gather valuable intelligence on their operations and the stealth capabilities of the Yasen-M Class submarines.

The pursuit has commenced. Earlier reports from BulgarianMilitary.com highlighted the echoes of concern among internet users, who shared a screenshot from a global air traffic monitoring application focusing on movements near the southern coast of the United States. Just recently, the U.S. Navy deployed its P-8 Poseidon aircraft, known for hunting submarines. According to U.S. Civil Defense News X, the P-8 Poseidon is currently conducting operations over Florida’s coastline in search of a suspected Russian submarine. They reported, “The Russian Navy’s nuclear submarine Kazan, armed with Kalibr-M missiles with a range of 4,500 kilometers, is positioned 66 miles off the coast of Florida near Cuba!! A new Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Experts highlight that the U.S. is collaborating closely with the Royal Canadian Navy for this search effort. Ottawa has bolstered these operations by deploying Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft to assist the U.S. P-8 Poseidon. Screenshots from air traffic tracking apps depict these aircraft conducting search patterns within a designated area, diligently executing their mission. As of now, there is no official update regarding the outcome of this joint Canadian-American naval operation.