The US Is Afraid of a Russian Nuclear Doomsday Torpedo for a Reason

The US will simply be washed away: the power of the thermonuclear charge of the Poseidon torpedo can be 100 megatons in TNT equivalent…

On January 21st 2021 the American magazine Forbes published an article entitled “Russia Is Building Four Special Submarines To Haul Its Weird Doomsday Drone”. The publication describes the Russian ocean multi-purpose system Poseidon and its state of deployment at the moment. It also claims that Russia is “serious about adopting this system”.

The ocean-based Poseidon multi-purpose system consists of four submarines/carriers of disembodied underwater nuclear torpedoes “Poseidon” with nuclear engines. The first carrier submarine “Belgorod” of project 09852 has already been commissioned. This is one of the longest submarines in history, its length is 184 meters.

This submarine, according to Forbes, is designed to perform two functions: the transportation of six underwater “Poseidon” drones and for the transportation of the underwater vehicle “Losharik” project 210. “Losharik” is a 61-meter long reconnaissance vehicle for deep-sea operations, equipped with a nuclear engine.

The publication also writes that two submarines of the “Khabarovsk” type of project 09851 are being built, and the construction of the third of the same project is planned. Each of these boats will be able to carry six “Poseidons”. The Khabarovsk submarine is a shortened version of the Borey-class strategic missile submarine, its length is about 119 meters.

Forbes describes the military use of the Poseidons as follows: the drones are launched from a submarine “from the relative safety of Russian coastal waters after an exchange of nuclear missiles has devastated both Russia and the United States”. Next, these nuclear torpedoes “would cruise across the ocean and, days later, explode along the American coast”.

In addition to this doomsday function, American experts believe that the Poseidons are also deep-sea robots capable of conducting reconnaissance and monitoring foreign fleets, maintaining the Russian underwater sensor network, and influencing the underwater sensors of western countries.

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Forbes calls “Poseidon” a response to the significant US investment in a missile defence system that, in theory, can intercept Russian ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. Despite the fact that the American “missile-defenses don’t work very well in practice,” the publication writes that Moscow wants to avoid any risks, and considers “Poseidon” as an “underwater insurance policy” in case the US has the opportunity to shoot down Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles.

We can say that everything is basically set out correctly in the Forbes publication. Russia is indeed going to deploy the ocean-going multipurpose “Poseidon” system. It should be commissioned into the Russian Navy by 2027. The transfer of the “Belgorod” submarine to the fleet is scheduled for 2021. Two submarines with nuclear unmanned underwater vehicles will be part of the Northern Fleet and two will be part of the Pacific Fleet. The only thing a number of sources indicate that the submarine will carry 6-8 of these drones.

Yes, the ocean-based Poseidon multi-purpose system is Russia’s asymmetric response to the deployment of the US missile defence system. At the same time, it must be stated that this is a weapon of terrible power, and the US is very vulnerable to it. The fact is that 70% of the US population and infrastructure are located along the ocean coast.

According to open data, the power of the thermonuclear charge of the “Poseidon” drone can be 100 megatons in TNT equivalent. In an underwater nuclear explosion, a giant radioactive tsunami will wash away everything in its path, turning the American coastal territory into a zone of radioactive contamination for decades. It should also be borne in mind that one nuclear torpedo “Poseidon” can completely destroy the entire aircraft carrier strike group of the US Navy.

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At the same time, if Washington goes down the path of creating such weapons as a symmetrical response, then for Russia, which has a large part of the population and infrastructure located deep in the territory, it will not have such a destructive force.

In the Forbes article, only the length of the “Poseidon” drone is given – 25 meters. However, it is appropriate to recall other unique tactical and technical characteristics of this nuclear torpedo. It can move underwater at a speed of up to 200 kilometres per hour at a depth of 1 kilometre and at an intercontinental range of up to 10,000 kilometres. In fact, the possibility of it being intercepted by existing and prospective means is zero.

By the way, this weapon can also be used against European members of NATO. In this case, the destruction of the port and coastal infrastructure will deprive the alliance’s naval forces in Europe of their bases, as well as make it impossible to transfer troops from the US by sea. The severing of US ties with Europe will put Europe on the verge of capitulation.

It is necessary to highlight another important function of the ocean multi-purpose system “Poseidon”. This is a function of strategic nuclear deterrence. Even the threat of the use of these weapons against the US can exclude their intervention in a military conflict on the European continent and destroy the unity of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Thus, it can be stated that Russia has a comprehensive and safety margin-giving approach to the development of its strategic offensive weapons and to the issues of strategic nuclear deterrence. After all, only the fear of physical destruction keeps the collective west from a military conflict with Russia.

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Aleksandr Vladimirov

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