Strikepods Deploy to Norfolk
Though reports of a scuba diver inside a secure area appear to be unfounded, we have deployed two six-ship Strikepods to Naval Station Norfolk to monitor for adversary micronaval activity.
Yesterday, at approximately 0900EST, onboard watchstanders reported observing a diver in full scuba gear trespassing inside the secure barrier near the piers.
Piers were on lockdown for nearly twelve hours as an extensive search involving ships, aircraft, and base personnel ensued, but turned up nothing suspicious.
It is possible that watchstanders, unaccustomed to monitoring for unmanned threats, may have actually observed Russian micronaval activity, mistaking an Istina-class microsubmarine for a scuba diver.
Strikepod patrols observed an increase in Atlantic Istina activity in the weeks after the January inauguration. At that time Istinas were observed operating near major east coast naval installations, including Naval Station Norfolk. These observations also coincided with the Russian Vishnya-class intelligence ship Viktor Leonov operating off the coast.
Strikepods observed intermittent Istina activity for approximately six weeks before losing contact, at which time, due to resource limitations, Strikepods were recalled and redeployed to Operations Noble Prowl and Eminent Shadow.
Istinas loitered along the channel and near the mouth of the James River, but never ventured past the HRBT. It is possible that Istinas have begun taking a more aggressive approach to ISR, and are now venturing deeper into the tidal waters and down the Elizabeth River.
Why Moscow would choose to engage in such aggressive, risky maneuvers is unclear, though it would seem to be consistent with an ambitious Russian naval doctrine that includes not only protecting its own maritime interests, but influencing affairs well beyond its borders.
Strikepods to report when on station.