SPOTREP: Russian Signals Intelligence Vessel Operating off the Coast of Kauai

Spot Report

A Russian signals intelligence vessel has been spotted operating 13 nautical miles off the coast of Kauai, in the State of Hawaii. The Soviet-era Vishnya-class Auxiliary General Intelligence, or AGI, ship Kareliya (SSV-535) was re-commissioned and returned to active service in 2014 to support intelligence operations. The vessel’s presence for the last several days has prevented the US military from conducting missile tests, but the regular presence of Russian and Chinese naval vessels near Hawaii is not unprecedented. Territorial waters extend out to 12 nautical miles. Beyond that is considered international waters.


There is always a political axis to any overt military presence, particularly for mobile intelligence collection platforms. It can be assumed that US military activities in Hawaii are being closely monitored, including the use of radar and signal intercepts.