Yantar - Russian military intelligence

A Russian military ship tracked by U.S. intelligence assets over the past two months as it sailed the western Atlantic arrived at a Caribbean port this week.

The research ship Yantar on Sunday sailed into the port of Willemstad, capital of the Caribbean island of Curacao, after transiting international waters off the southeastern United States. Maritime tracking data showed that it was near Aruba several days ago.

Pentagon officials have said the vessel was tracked from the north Atlantic on Aug. 24 as it sailed south through international waters along the U.S. east coast.

The Yantar is a newly commissioned Russian military research vessel that is believed to be conducting anti-submarine warfare operations against U.S. ballistic missile submarines based at Kings Bay, Ga.

The Yantar, launched earlier this year from a Baltic seaport, is equipped with cable-cutting gear and two deep-water submersibles.

The ship’s activities in the Atlantic over the past several weeks also coincided with the deployment of the nuclear missile submarine USS Wyoming to Scotland.

The U.S. Strategic Command, in an unusual announcement, stated that the Wyoming, home ported at Kings Bay, arrived at the British Naval Base Clyde, Faslane in Scotland on Sept. 16.

Movements of ballistic missile submarines are normally kept secret by the Navy, and its dispatch to Europe comes amid heightened tensions with Russia over Ukraine and recent nuclear threats by Moscow against the NATO alliance.

The timing of the Wyoming’s arrival indicates its departure from Kings Bay could have been detected or even anticipated by Russian military intelligence, which is the beneficiary of the Yantar’s underwater surveillance activities.

Russia also has been known to deploy vessels similar to the Yantar in support of its attack submarines. It could not be learned if any Russian attack submarines were in the Atlantic at the same time the Wyoming crossed the ocean on the way to Scotland.