The US Navy recently announced the formation of a task group comprising Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to counter the Russian submarine threat in the Atlantic Ocean.
Task Group Greyhound, which received initial operational capability on September 1, is part of the navy’s Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) introduced in 2014.
The task force currently comprises the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) and Thomas Hudner, followed by USS The Sullivans (DDG-68) in January. According to USNI News, USS Cole (DDG-67) and USS Gravely (DDG-107) will join the group when Donald Cook returns for maintenance next year.
Fully Operational by June 2022
Commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Brendan McLane told reporters at the task group announcement ceremony that the Greyhound is “designed to provide the fleet with predictable, continuously ready and fully certified warships.”
“The ships will be ready to accomplish the full range of missions – including tracking Russian undersea activity in the Atlantic and maritime homeland defense for our nation.”
According to McLane, the ships will be based at Mayport and Norfolk in Virginia, with the task group fully operational by June 2022. He added that task group vessels will undergo “in-port training, live, virtual and constructive (LVC) training and time at sea.”
Commander of Submarine Group 2 Rear Adm. Brian Davies said that the group will provide a tailored response to any unexpected challenge thrown up by Moscow in the Atlantic.
“Having a dedicated platform that Task Group Greyhound brings to the maritime homeland defense in the undersea domain, [what it] will help us do is really make that continuity between the training of the assets and then operating at high-end competitors in a dynamic environment brings that to fruition for us,” Davies said.
“So instead of having to go out and find an asset to go and hunt say a high-end Russian submarine, we have these assets pre-assigned and they’re able to practice in this team-to-team approach that we like to talk about when it comes to the arc of undersea warfare.”
Growing Russian Underwater Capability
The US Navy’s dedicated offensive deployment is born of a long-term assessment of Russia’s growing underwater capability. Acknowledging the assessment, Mclane remarked that “Undersea security is a priority in the Atlantic because our adversaries are closing the gap. Military leaders have noticed the determination of our strategic competitors in challenging the security of the homeland by presenting a persistent and proximate threat in the undersea.”
Commander of US Northern Command Air Force General. Glen VanHerck pointed out that Russia has “developed capabilities that didn’t exist 20 years ago …very low radar cross-section cruise missiles [and] submarines on par with our submarines.”
According to War Zone, Vanherk was referring particularly to the nuclear-powered Yasen and Yasen-M class guided-missile submarines. “Russia just fielded their second Sev class [submarine], which is on par with ours,” the outlet quoted VanHerck as saying to members of the House Armed Services Committee during a hearing on missile defense on June 15, 2021.
“Within a five-year period, they’ll have eight to nine of those submarines, which will be a persistent proximate threat off of our east and west coasts that we haven’t had ever in the past.” The “Sev class” boat VanHerck was referring to is the Project 885 Yasen class submarine.