A reconnaissance Russian Navy ship arrived off the coast of Hawaii where Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise is taking place. According to the news published on the US Naval Institute website, US experts believe that Moscow has dispatched a specialized spy ship to monitor the US Navy led RIMPAC-2016.
The US Naval Institute website reported that the ship arrived in international waters, where large-scale exercises with the participation of 25 countries are taking place. Almost 50 of ships, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are concentrated in the area of Hawaii now.
“The ship’s presence has not affected the conduct of the exercise and we’ve taken all precautions necessary to protect our critical information,” US Pacific Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Clint Ramsden said.
The author of the article, published at the USNI News website, is surprised about the appearance of the reconnaissance Russian ship off the US coast, and points out that nothing like this had happened since the days of the Cold War. At that time, Soviet reconnaissance ships were lingering off the coast of the US to suck up signals intelligence information or monitor exercises.
The US Naval Institute does not have any additional information about the ship or its origin. But according to naval analysts contacted by USNI News, “the ship is the Project 1826 Bal’zam class ship Pribaltika (SSV-80) operating out of Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific Coast.”
“Given that Pribaltika is larger, has greater endurance and range, has undergone recent maintenance and has made a deployment to Hawaii in the past (2004), it makes the most sense that this is the ship the Russians [would] send,” Chris Carlson, a retired U.S. Navy captain and naval analyst said.
Powerful equipment of the SSV-80 allows it to intercept and find direction of radio signals, and analyze the acquired information. All data is transmitted via satellite to coastal posts or flagships. The ship is armed with two surface-to-air missile systems Strela-2M and automatic naval close-in weapon system AK-630 based on a six-barreled 30 mm rotary cannon. The ship is used for maritime reconnaissance of carrier striking forces of an enemy side.
The last time the STS-80 Pribaltika was seen near the Hawaiian Islands in 2004.