Russia Desires 4 Submarines Armed with Nuclear Warhead Drones That Can Trigger Tsunamis

Russia Wants Four Submarines Armed with Nuclear Warhead Drones That Can Cause Tsunamis

By now, two submarines seem to have been constructed particularly to launch the Poseidon, beginning with the Sarov, an experimental diesel-electric submarine with a small nuclear-reactor devoted to charging its batteries.

For many years, submarine nuclear deterrence has been uniquely supplied by the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), designed to loft missiles from beneath the waves into house earlier than releasing a number of nuclear warheads that rain hellfire on cities and army bases beneath. SSBNs can stay submerged mainly indefinitely because of their nuclear reactors, and are thus unlikely to be all hunted down previous to launch orders being issued.

Nevertheless, whereas Russia is planning to totally substitute its older SSBNs with eight ultra-quiet Borei-class boats (detailed in a companion article), it’s embarking on a radical new course by additionally ordering 4 Khabarovsk-class nuclear-powered submarine drone-torpedo carriers, or SSDNs.

The Poseidon drone torpedo, additionally codenamed Standing-6 by Russia and Kanyon by NATO, was for years the topic of rumor and skepticism, seeming too fantastical to be actual. However by 2016, Pentagon experiences confirmed the torpedo’s existence, and in March 2018 Putin publicly unveiled a 3D-animated video displaying Poseidon attacking a metropolis and a service process pressure. Later, real-life footage of a Poseidon being launched was launched as properly.

No Western supply has higher documented and picked up imagery of Poseidon and its launch platforms than naval analyst H.I. Sutton, whose years of open-source analysis considerably knowledgeable this piece.

By now, two submarines seem to have been constructed particularly to launch the Poseidon, beginning with the Sarov, an experimental diesel-electric submarine with a small nuclear-reactor devoted to charging its batteries.

Then in April 2019, Russia launched the Mission 9852 Belgorod, a particularly versatile “special-projects” submarine tailored from the hull of an unfinished Oscar-II class cruise missile submarine. The Belgorod is a large one-of-a-kind vessel that may launch unmanned Klavesin-2R underwater drone submarines (UUVs), dock manned Losharik mini-submarines on its stomach which may faucet into underwater communication cables or carry out spy missions, and it has six gigantic tubes in its bow for launching Poseidon torpedoes

Nevertheless, Russia has introduced it plans to area thirty-two Poseidon torpedoes, and the Belgorod’s Swiss-Military knife-like versatility will not be appropriate for mass deployment. That’s the place the forthcoming submarine Khabarovsk, laid down in 2014, is available in.

A Russian flyer reveals the 10,000-ton Khabarovsk resembles a big Borei­-class SSBN, shortened from 170 to roughly 120 meters, however nonetheless that includes its very quiet pump jet propulsion. It could actually carry six or probably eight Poseidons as an alternative of ballistic missiles. Two massive blisters close to its bow could also be separate strain hulls, probably accommodating typical heavyweight torpedoes for self-defense.

4 Khabarovsk are slated for service in Russia’s Northern (Atlantic) and Pacific fleets. Nevertheless, Michael Kofman, an skilled on the Russian army on the Middle for Naval Evaluation, wrote in a weblog publish that oceanic geography would make hitting U.S. West Coast targets extra viable:

…I point out Pacific cities [because] a deep diving weapon doesn’t make as a lot sense coming from Russia by way of GIUK hole into the Atlantic, merely due to the depths and geographical choke factors concerned… The Pacific alternatively lends itself handily to deep diving autonomous weapons in the event that they’re ‘hearth and neglect.’

A potential successor to the Khabarovsk, the mysterious Mission 9853, may be supposed to hold Poseidons.

The Poseidon is the biggest torpedo ever constructed, measuring roughly twenty-four meters lengthy and 1.6-meters in diameter. Utilizing a tiny nuclear reactor to energy a pump-jet propulsion system, the Poseidon can traverse hundreds of miles throughout oceans, autonomously navigating round obstacles and evading interception. U.S. intelligence estimates the Poseidon will full testing by 2025 and enter operational service in 2027.

There stay massive question-marks on the Poseidon’s precise capabilities and its operational idea.

The Poseidon has been claimed to be able to blistering-fast speeds of 100 knots, acoustic stealth, and diving as deep as 1,000 meters.

Of those claims, Poseidon’s low working depth is taken into account most credible. By itself, this might render interception extraordinarily tough with present expertise. For comparability, U.S. assault submarines (formally) function right down to 240 meters and journey as much as 30 knots. Their Mark 48 torpedoes can speed up to 55 knots and are usually not rated for a lot deeper than 800 meters.

The pace claims seem extra doubtful. Reaching 100 knots implies super-cavitating propulsion resembling utilized by the Russian Shkval or Iranian Hoot torpedo, which use warmth to create an air-bubble across the torpedo so it will probably race ahead with out water-induced drag. Nevertheless, Sutton factors out that the Poseidon’s pump jet will not be appropriate with that, nor does it boast the massive steering fins essential to pierce the bubble for maneuvers.

As a substitute, each Western analysts and Russian media now declare a extra credible pace of 56-70 knots.

Acoustic stealth can be not extremely appropriate with tearing by way of the ocean at over a mile a minute. One chance is that the Poseidon is designed to cruise slowly and stealthily, after which accelerates to excessive speeds for its terminal strategy. Nevertheless, swimming a kilometer deep at 50-70 knots by itself makes interception extraordinarily tough utilizing current NATO techniques, so acoustic stealth is probably not a precedence.

The Poseidon was additionally initially claimed to hold a big 100-megaton warhead, probably a cobalt-salt bomb designed to wipe out cities with a radioactive tsunami wave. Nevertheless, Russian media articles have since admitted a much less ridiculous 2-megaton payload using extra typical kill mechanisms.

One other lingering query is simply how autonomous is the Poseidon? The time period “drone” implies distant command mechanisms, that are often fascinating in a strategic weapons system. Nevertheless, a torpedo swimming on the backside of the seafloor is unlikely to have the ability to keep steady communication hyperlinks, and can seemingly advance upon targets with a excessive diploma of autonomy.

What’s the Poseidon even for?

What do Khabarovsk-class SSDNs do for Russia that its current SSBNs can’t do higher? In spite of everything, ballistic missiles may hit america in a half-hour whereas drone torpedoes would possibly require days to succeed in their targets throughout the ocean.

In an e mail in 2018, Kofman wrote me that the Poseidon amounted to a “third-strike” revenge weapon, guaranteeing annihilation of an adversary’s coastal cities, even ought to Russia’s personal nuclear forces be annihilated in a primary strike. 

Moscow might understand the Poseidon as a counter to U.S. ballistic-missile protection. Simple arithmetic suffices to level out that the roughly fifty-ish GMD ballistic missile interceptors deployed by america couldn’t cease Russia’s stockpile of 1,500 nuclear missiles, however Kofman wrote that Russia would possibly concern a exact U.S. first strike may wipe out sufficient of Russia’s nukes that the survivors left for the second strike might be “mopped up” by mature ABM weapons.

Defending towards Poseidon would require an costly, expanded sea-bed surveillance system and new anti-submarine weapons able to intercepting such a deep and quick goal. A publish by Sutton particulars potential technological counters, together with ultra-lightweight anti-torpedo-torpedoes; denser sea-based sonar networks, air-dropped sonars related by cable or Wi-Fi, and hypersonic missiles used to quickly deploy torpedo interceptors.

But when the Poseidon has just about limitless vary, why does it require costly submarines to launch it at sea moderately than from a dock or a coastal platform? Certainly, there could also be a “Skif” Poseidon variant designed to be put in for launch from the ocean flooring.

Putin’s presentation emphasised the Poseidon might be used tactically to wipe out a service process pressure (CFT). Nevertheless, a CTF is often shifting at 30 knots and musters dense and formidable anti-submarine defenses, not like a coastal metropolis. Cueing a shifting goal for missiles just like the Chinese language DF-21D that may journey many occasions the pace of sound is already a extremely difficult process. Making an attempt the identical operation with an underwater car cruising at 50-100 knots, with weaker communication hyperlinks, poses an exponentially larger one.

An SSDN, nevertheless, may simplify the engagement chain by releasing the Poseidon nearer to the carriers. The Poseidon is believed to have an energetic sonar in its nostril, which might be used to map the ocean flooring for navigation functions, however may additionally allow hunter-killer engagement.

Although the tactical software of the Poseidon nonetheless appears tough to operationalize, it does pose worrying issues in that Russia might escalate to make use of of tactical nuclear weapons with out perceiving these as essentially upsetting a wider strategic nuclear change.

Whereas the Poseidon doesn’t essentially alter the stability of energy, nor the horrifying destructiveness of nuclear struggle, it does present that humanity is inclined to proceed devising ingenious however largely redundant new weapons of mass destruction.

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