Freak Accident of Chemistry Sunk Russia's Aircraft-Killer Submarine

Kursk had suffered two massive explosions and sank in 354 feet of water at a twenty-degree vertical angle. An explosion had ripped through the front of the hull, tearing a terrible gash along the upper bow. Still, at least twenty-three of the 118 crew had survived the sinking, as a note penned by one of the ship’s senior officers, Lt. Capt. Dmitri Kolesnikov, indicated. The note was dated exactly two hours after the initial explosion. Rescue efforts by Russian—and later British and Norwegian—teams failed to rescue the survivors.

Step Aboard the Seawolf: The Secret Submarines the Navy Doesn't Want to Talk About

So what was Seawolf doing under the ice? Most likely simply training … for fighting under ice. For a submarine crew, going to the Arctic “gives us the opportunity to test our combat systems, our navigation systems, our communication systems and just what it’s like to operate in this very challenging environment,” Roughead said four years ago. And there are good reasons besides a tradition of secrecy to do so quietly. Consider Moscow’s reaction to the 2009 ICEX.