In the silent, secret, dark war taking place deep beneath the oceans, Russia now outmatches the U.S. Navy.

In total, Russia’s seabed war force is the largest and most capable on the planet, giving Moscow officials an unprecedented ability to disrupt their adversaries’ intercontinental communications. Only the U.S. Navy has the resources to match or counter this capability – but it’s simply not a major priority for struggling Americans right now.

A single ship carries out all the missions of the American fleet on the seabed: the rarely seen USS Jimmy Carter. She is a long ship by American standards, with an extension of 100 feet from her original 350-foot hull. The exact contents of the expansion are a secret, but whatever it is, it helps the crew complete their high-stakes missions on the seabed.

But there is a problem. Jimmy Carter launched in 2004, meaning its steel hull – repeatedly stressed by deep dives – could have another 10 years of life left.

It is for this reason that this year the American Congress allocated 5 billion dollars to purchase a copy of a new version of the latest Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine with a hull extension for seabed warfare. This vessel is expected to enter service within approximately the next five years, allowing time for testing before Jimmy Carter becomes dangerous for deep operations.

However, even with a brand new submarine, the Americans were at a disadvantage deep in the waves. New Virginia will be the equivalent of one of the two special submarines in the Russian fleet. But after removing the research nuclear submarine NR-1 in 2008, the American fleet no longer functions any of them smaller seabed warfare submarines in the class of four smaller submarines operated by the Russian fleet.

The US Navy is actually two navies: one each operating in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the two only rarely exchanging ships via the Panama Canal or the long voyage around South America or the North Pole. Jimmy Carter is a ship of the Pacific Fleet. Ideally, the Americans would also have a seabed warfare submarine for the Atlantic Fleet. Especially given the growing threat of Russian aggression.

But it would cost billions of dollars and add to a shipyard backlog that has set back U.S. shipbuilding projects by years. It is fair to say that the Americans are doing their best to maintain a seabed warfare capability that they can afford. But it is also fair to say that they are far behind the Russians – and even further behind Losharik. returns to service.