Posts Tagged ‘Russian submarine’

Phantom Russian submarines show up (UK, Sweden) when defence budgets are being discussed

November 23, 2015

I get more cynical with each day, but it is remarkably coincidental that mysterious Russian submarines show up off the Swedish coast and now, even off the UK coast, just when defence budgets are being discussed.

BBCAn RAF plane is “conducting activity” off the Scottish coast, the Ministry of Defence says, amid reports of a Russian submarine being spotted in the area.

A Royal Navy Frigate and submarine are also thought to be involved in the search, along with Canadian and French maritime patrol aircraft.

But the same incident is also reported by Sputnik News:

British and French forces are looking for what the UK media has termed a “Russian submarine” as the country’s navy calls for budget increases.

Britain’s navy and air force have spent at least ten days searching for what the country’s media have called a “Russian submarine”, the BBC reported. The country’s defense ministry did not confirm that it was looking for a foreign submarine in its statement. This is the third time the UK has conducted search operations, according to the Telegraph, with the previous instance(s) tied to demands for higher defense spending.

Just a year ago it was the Swedish defence forces who claimed to be playing hide-and-seek with a mysterious Russian mini-submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. No submarine was found of course and I wrote then.

Perhaps there is a submarine out there. Perhaps it was in distress. Perhaps it was testing Swedish defences.

I have my doubts. Maybe I am just being cynical but I see two “drivers” here. A push for NATO membership and a larger defence budget. There is a new Red/Green government in place and they are due to present their first budget proposal today. Normally the Red/Greens could be expected to cut back on defence spending and they are ideologically not at all comfortable in joining NATO. They have an idealised and somewhat glorified vision of a “Swedish neutrality” even if it is completely contradicted by the reality of cooperation with the US and NATO for at least the last 30 years. Public opinion is against NATO membership – but only just. The Swedish military would just love to be part of NATO and take part not only in exercises but also in some real live fire-fights. The Swedish military – for all its restricted defence budget – is quite technologically advanced but lack playgrounds for their toys. Being part of NATO would provide more playgrounds and even more toys and many more players to play with.

In the case of the UK it seems to be a play written by the Ministry of Defence bureaucrats to protect their turf, when general budget cuts are in the air.  It seems to be a defensive ploy against the expected actions from George Osborne. The French defence ministry is also afraid of cuts by the socialist government. In the Swedish case it is more likely to have been a play written by the military rather than the bureaucracy. The military would very much like to be a part of NATO and the Red/Green Government is perceived as a greater threat than phantom Russian submarines.

There is little doubt that the weapons industry is not averse to promoting and developing their markets, even to the extent of instigating conflicts (Africa, Middle East). Compared to their machinations, a few phantom Russian submarines, invented by bureaucrats and occasionally getting lost in the Baltic or the North Sea, is only very minor disinformation. It is only mildly unethical, hurts no-one, and is surely allowable for the worthy cause of protecting defence budgets.

Triton NN submersible


“That demmed elusive submarine”

November 14, 2014

They sought it here, then they sought it there,

The Swedish Navy looked everywhere,

It moves by stealth, it can’t be seen,

That demmed elusive submarine

with apologies to Baroness Emma Orczy and her Scarlet Pimpernel

The Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Sverker Göranson, held a press conference today. He asserted that it was now confirmed that a foreign mini-submarine of unknown (read Russian) nationality had violated Swedish territorial waters in the Stockholm archipelago on October 17th. It is not known how it got there and it is not known how it got away.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was also at the press conference, “We don’t know who is behind this, but it is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Löfven warned the world at large that Sweden would not put up with this sort of thing and, please, not to do it again. If it happened again he was even prepared to use military force! Neither the Russians or any other foreign power has claimed responsibility. Of course, in order to use military force it would be necessary to detect any incursion somewhat faster than one month later. In this case the warning about under water activity by a foreign power was first raised not by the military’s warning systems but by a “credible informant”.

The military is, I suppose, reasonably satisfied since the defense budget has been increased. This should now also add some impetus to the campaign to join NATO.

Source: Swedish Radio

Foreign mini sub found in Swedish waters – confirmed

Did one false report in Swedish newspaper cause the submarine fiasco?

October 28, 2014

I have posted earlier about the “Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago” hysteria which gripped the Swedish media and – apparently – the Swedish military for 6 days. (Though my perception is that the hysteria was with the media and the military and not with the general public. It did not cause much general alarm but it did provide another subject for after-dinner conversation and for wild speculation in the bars).The hunt is now over and there is plenty of egg on many faces. The Russian press and social media are having a field day with Swedish military alarmism.

But all of it may have originated from just one false article in the right-leaning Svenska Dagbladet. Of course it was compounded by further false sightings. This is a report from the left-leaning Dagens Nyheter (the nearest media competitor to the Svenska Dagbladet).

Dagens Nyheter: The operation carried out by the Swedish armed forces in the Stockholm archipelago was not triggered by one emergency call in Russian. So says Naval Intelligence to DN.

On Saturday, October 18th the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet revealed that an emergency call in Russian set off the alarm and started the hunt for a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. The newspaper also said that there had been encrypted radio traffic between a transmitter in the archipelago and one transmitter located in Kaliningrad where large parts of the Russian Baltic Fleet is located. This news was reproduced by virtually all Swedish media, including DN. The disclosure also received international attention.

Already in last Friday’s paper newspaper DN revealed that no radio communications between the field of operation and Kaliningrad were intercepted during the six-day operation.

DN has now with the support of Freedom of Information rules obtained a copy of the transcript from the Armed Forces and has had the transcript translated.
Documents relating to military operations are usually completely or partly exempt under secrecy rules. When documents are denied the authorities are required to disclose an “Incident Report”.  Those denied documents can then appeal the decision. But no Russian emergency traffic ever occurred according to the military’s own investigation reported DN’s intelligence source. The documents just do not exist, according to the military.

“I thought it was exciting to read about the Russian emergency call you reported. But there is no such thing – the information is incorrect” says a source in Navy intelligence.

Has there been any radio traffic from Stockholm archipelago to and from Kaliningrad?

“There is traffic from Kaliningrad constantly, 24 hours a day. This is nothing strange. It’s just like any of our radio stations everywhere in Sweden – they transmit all the time” says DN’s source.

And if all the fuss was triggered by just one false report in the Svenska Dagbladet, it begs the question as to whether it was just bad journalism or whether there was another motive and a hidden agenda? And why did the Swedish military react so hysterically to just one bad media report?

%d bloggers like this: