Reports: Car Mag Accidentally Runs Photo of Secret Russian Sub


The automotive magazine, “Top Gear Russia,” accidentally published a photo of a classified Russian submarine, according to news reports.

The Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based think tank, was the first to report on the image of the classified deep-water sub known as the AC-12 Project. The news was subsequently picked up by such news outlets as Slon Media and Business Insider.

The magazine apparently organized a photo shoot on the shores of the White Sea for the Mercedes-Benz GL450, a full-size sports utility vehicle, and didn’t realize it had captured the stealthy submarine cruising on the surface of the water in the background.

The vessel, nicknamed, “Losharik” after a children’s movie, is part of the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet, according to the Russian think tank. The magazine image of Losharika may be the highest-quality open source photo of the boat to date.

Russia over the past decade has reorganized its military forces, including its Northern Fleet, in part to protect its interests in the Arctic. The fleet falls under a formation called Northern Fleet-United Strategic Command, which includes forces on the border with Norway and in the high Arctic, according to published reports.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • jack

    I hope the people who took this photo enjoys Siberian winters.

    • blight_

      Get out of the country…now!

  • Mitch S

    Maybe the crew of the sub was trying to sneak a peek of the Benz!

  • Matt

    Come on…seriously? Why do we feed such silly propaganda. Top secret sub lets a noisy trawler just cruise on by in the open ocean and they stay at the surface for a photoshop? Weak stuff!

  • dubweiser101

    Soooo why is the photo in the article of what looks to be a Tango-class sub? I guess the Russian’s are still 2-3 decades behind the USN in submarine technology.

  • Stan

    The text in the yellow circle: Nick went in the water and saluted, 2 morons on the bridge…. (I am guessing saluted back).

  • iain

    Thanks to the photographer for the red arrow. Wouldve missed it otherwise.

    • indy


  • TLAM Strike

    About a decade ago an acquaintance of mine sent the following photo to me, it was apparently taken by some shipyard workers and posted on a Russian website (then quickly taken down). The photo didn’t seem to draw much attention as it couldn’t really be identified as any known class. But it appears to be the same boat.

  • blight_

    If it’s another low-crew sub, it may be a successor to the Alfa.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they outfitted it for special missions, like the Parche, Halibut, NR-1 and the Jimmy Carter in our navy.

  • JEK


  • 6113

    It was just The Stigs Russian cousin trying to get in the picture

  • Rob C.

    OOps. I guess the Russian Navy didn’t count civilians being near by when they cruising along. I’d imagine depending on how sensitive they are about it, that Captain of the ship and people involved a the photo shoot are going have problems with Russian authorities.

  • Gil

    Never under estimate your enemy.

  • dglin

    yea l like the USA spy satellites haven’t picked it up… hah

  • I_C_A51

    This reminds me of that time the Air Force published a picture of an F-22 in flight with Area 51 in the background/