Three Russian Navy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines broke through ice up to 1,5 meters thick to surface simultaneously near the North Pole during a recent exercise.
The ice exercise was a first of this kind for the Russian Navy, according to the service’s top officer Admiral Nikolai Anatolyevich Yevmenov.
It is unclear when exactly the exercise took place and the Russian defense ministry did not identify which submarines took part in the Umka-2021 exercise.
Based on details visible in a video of the exercise shared by the navy, military analysts say two of the submarines were DELTA-IV boats, while the third one is believed to be a Borei-class or even the only Borei-A sub in service, the Knyaz Vladimir.
MiG-31 Foxhound aircraft were also part of the drill, as well as an Il-78 aerial refueling aircraft. The undertaking involved more than 600 military and civilian personnel going through over 40 training events at average temperatures of minus 25-30 degrees Celsius.
Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov reported to Vladimir Putin directly that for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, three nuclear submarines surfaced near the North Pole in a radius of 300 meters. He also reported that the submarines carried out torpedo firings from under the ice.
The drill appears to be similar in concept to the US Navy’s annual ICEX, during which submarines conduct multiple Arctic transits, surface near the North Pole and take part in other training evolutions during their time in the region.
Usually up to two US submarines, along with eventual guests like Royal Navy submarines, participate in the evolution.