The so-called Poseidon strategic missiles, carrying up to 200 megaton warheads, will be deployed by 2020 and could wipe out the likes of Los Angeles, according to reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military plans to deploy the weapons on the new Project 09852 sub Belgorod — a converted nuclear-powered submarine.
Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass, citing a Moscow defence source, claims the underwater warships could carry six of the Poseidon torpedoes.
In January, Fox News reported a former senior adviser to US President Doanld Trump admitted there were “genuine concerns” about the plan.
Former State Department senior adviser Christian Whiton said a blast would create a “wave — and a highly irradiated one”, but because the water would absorb a lot of the energy, the wave would be less damaging than getting hit by the bomb itself.
The Poseidon nuclear drone was revealed by Russia’s defence ministry in May 2018. Picture: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.
A prototype doomsday craft took to the waves for the first time on Christmas Day to begin undersea trials, Tass news agency reported.
A defence source is quoted as saying: “In the sea area protected from a potential enemy’s reconnaissance means, the underwater trials of the nuclear propulsion unit of the Poseidon drone are under way.”
The drone is said to be powered by a miniaturised nuclear reactor, which has been fitted to the rear for ocean tests.
Russia is quick to flex its military muscle.
Before Christmas, it was expected development of the weapon was at an early stage and the craft was being carried by one of the Russian navy’s nuclear submarines “as part of experimental design work rather than full-fledged sea trials at this stage”, the source told Tass.
Mr Putin revealed the existence of the state-of-the-art new weapon earlier in 2018 and claimed it would be able to whizz through the ocean almost silently at up to 70 knots.
He said: “It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly manoeuvrable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit.
“There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”
Poseidon — originally called the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System — got its name after a Boaty McBoatface-style public poll by Russia’s Defence Ministry.
The massive unmanned sub is being developed by the Russian Defence Ministry.
It is reportedly designed to wipe out enemy naval bases with nuke warheads
PUTIN’S WAR GAMES
The drones will be armed with conventional weapons and a two-megaton nuclear warhead with the “primary purpose” of destroying naval bases, according to reports in Russia.
However analysts at the Pentagon — who use the name Kanyon for the drones — are said to believe they will carry “tens of megatons” of explosive power.
Experts have said that kind of blast underwater could be enough to trigger a tsunami as powerful as the one that killed 20,000 people in Japan and knocked out the Fukushima power plant in 2011.
Physicist Rex Richardson told Business Insider: “A well-placed nuclear weapon of yield in the range 20MT to 50MT near a sea coast could certainly couple enough energy to equal the 2011 tsunami, perhaps much more.”
Some reports claim the resulting wave could reach 90 metres, swamping entire cities.
And there are fears it could blow ocean sediment into the air, generating a deadly radioactive dust cloud.
Russia’s navy had previously said they hoped Poseidon would be in service by 2027.
The claimed miniature nuke reactor — said to be 100 times smaller than previously achieved — allegedly powers the Burevestnik 9M730 cruise missile.
That was also unveiled earlier in 2018, part of an arsenal of advanced weapons Russia claims is capable of thwarting the most modern defences to help it win a potential World War III.