Moscow confirms test trials of nuclear-powered doomsday torpedo
The first 22 seconds of a one-minute long video shows the giant torpedo, its size and a blurred sequence of what appears to be test running of the pump jet, or propeller, propulsion. Testing of the steering fin is also shown.
The video was first published on the Russian Defense Ministry’s YouTube channel three days after President Putin talked about how to proceed with nuclear arms agreements with President Trump in Helsinki.
The torpedo is designed to carry a several megatons nuclear warhead, by weapons analysts described as a “doomsday nuke”. If detonated outside the east coast of the United States, it could create a several tens of metres high tsunami wave additional to the nuclear blast itself.
In his annual state-of-the-nation speech in March, Vladimir Putin told that the new underwater drone could travel “extreme depths, intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times faster than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest.”
He continued bragging about the capabilities of the new underwater weapon saying it “is quiet, highly maneuverable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding it.”
The Barents Observer first time told about the nuclear-powered torpedo in 2016.
The new video clearly shows that the torpedo does not only exist on drawings and animated films, it is real, and testing of a full-scale version is taking place. In the video, the testing takes place indoor in a workshop.
However, it is unlikely that the test running of the propulsion as shown in the video, includes the actual running of the nuclear reactor since that would with such small-scale reactor cause releases of high-levels of radiation inside the workshop.
How testing of the terrifying weapon has been done at sea is unclear. It is also unclear if the torpedo has been tested with the reactor running in either the White Sea or Barents Sea, the waters nearest to Severodvinsk naval yards.
TASS was first to inform about testing in what can be interpreted to be at sea. “At the sites of the Russian Ministry of Defense, tests were carried out to confirm the dynamic characteristics of the apparatus [Poseidon] when launching in real conditions and checking the parameters of the vehicle’s movement along the route in an autonomous mode,” TASS quoted the Defense Ministry saying.
Poseidon is the new Russian name of the torpedo, formerly also known as Status-6.
Bringing such 24-meter long torpedo to real-tests at sea would require a huge carrier, either a submarine or a surface vessel. In Severodvinsk, the special purpose submarine “Podmoskovye” could be such a possible carrier. “Sarov” is another special purpose submarine that could be used to test Poseidon.
Two other vessels are under construction at Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk, believed to be possible carriers of the Poseidon torpedo, the “Khabarovsk” and the “Belgorod”. The last is a re-built Oscar-II class submarine, like the one shown in the animated video as carrier of the torpedo.
If working, and put into serial production, the nuclear-powered nuclear-armed torpedo will put a forth leg to Russia’s nuclear triad of strategic nuclear weapons.
The Defense Ministry added that the Poseidon torpedo would be able to target enemy aircraft carriers and hit coastal targets at intercontinental range.
“It is practically 100% invulnerable to enemy countermeasures,” TASS quotes the Ministry saying.