Monday, December 14, 2015
Israel concerned Russian 'Silent Killer' sub passing IDF information to Iran, Hezbollah
Rostov-on-Don at its launch.
Staff, Jewish Press
13 December 2015
Although Israel has been stressing at every opportunity that “Russia is not an enemy state nor a direct threat to Israel,” the IDF is worried that the information collected by Russia’s newest weapon along Syria’s coast, a diesel-electric stealth submarine named Rostov-on-Don, will divulge Israeli secrets to hostile elements. “Russia and Syria are fighting together. Intelligence is probably flowing to the Syrian army. If Assad has tried according to foreign reports to transfer his advanced weapons systems to Hezbollah, why would he not transfer sensitive information on Israel to Hezbollah and the Iranians?” a former senior security official told Walla. “The Russians don’t harass the Israeli Navy directly but it is important to understand that the coalition developed by Russia and Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, is very bad for Israel in the long run.”
The Russian Navy’s Rostov-on-Don submarine successfully hit targets of the Islamic State with a salvo of Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said last week. “For the first time an underwater salvo launch of the sea-based Kalibr missiles has been made by the Rostov-on-Don submarine from the Mediterranean Sea. The recent launch was carried out from submerged position from the submarine’s torpedo tubes,” Konashenkov said. The announcement also launched a nightmare scenario for the IDF, which has been going out of its way to avoid clashing with the Russian military, to the point of permitting Russian aircraft to penetrate Israeli airspace unmolested.
But the new presence of the stealth Kilo class Rostov-on-Don (hence the name ‘Silent Killer’) in the eastern Mediterranean theater will make it impossible for the IDF to coordinate naval operations with the Russians. “The Russian submarine presence reduces the naval maneuverability of the IDF,” the former senior defense official admits.
The Rostov-on-Don, commissioned early this year, is a diesel-electric submarine, one of six “Project 636” Kilo class subs built or under construction for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Their ability to move silently at 20 knots and maneuver quickly in shallow water makes it a perfect tool for information gathering. One of the IDF’s main concerns about this submarine’s presence is that its advanced sonar allow it to more easily explore naval operations in its environment. “As soon as this submarine is operating in our
area you can’t always know when it is in front of you and what it’s doing,” the former senior security official told Walla. “With a ship or an aircraft it’s relatively easy to find out what’s happening and avoid friction, but when it comes to a submarine, she is very difficult to locate.”