Hide and Seek is back. US Navy surface units in the Mediterranean were caught unaware last May when a new Russian sub launched a salvo of cruise missiles at targets in Syria. The USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier and its battle group had no clue the Russian boat was in the vicinity until those missiles started flying.
For weeks the Bush, it's surface fleet, helicopters and P-8 anti-submarine aircraft tried to track the Krasnodar and repeatedly it eluded its trackers.
The Krasnodar is wrapped in echo-absorbing skin to evade sonar; its propulsion system is mounted on noise-cutting dampers; rechargeable batteries drive it in near silence, leaving little for sub hunters to hear. “The Black Hole,” U.S. allies call it.
The problem isn't so much tracking the sub down, it's having no idea that it's around until it reveals its presence. What that means is that it could have just as easily attacked and sunk the American carrier as stealthily as it did getting into position to launch a volley of cruise missiles.
The US Navy got a taste of this in the South China Sea some time ago when a Chinese sub popped up behind a carrier inside the battle group formation. It too was in a perfect kill shot position.
Meanwhile, in a return to the Dr. Strangelove era, the US Air Force is reported to be planning to put America's venerable B-52 bomber force back on 24-hour nuclear alert. That was stopped in 1991.