Russia has unveiled its latest nuclear-powered submarine, a vessel capable of launching a newly-designed weapon of mass destruction said capable of traveling thousands of miles underwater at high speeds.
The Sevmash Shipyard, located at the northern White Sea port city of Severodvinsk, floated out the Project 09852 special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod on Tuesday. The vessel has been slated as the carrier for the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle, as per official reports from the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at the slipway ceremony via television link, thanked researchers and hailed recent improvement’s in his country’s maritime might.
“You are proving that you can solve the most difficult, ambitious tasks,” Putin said. “I am sure that this will continue in the future and, through joint efforts, we will certainly increase the status of Russia as a great maritime power.”
The Poseidon was deemed a “doomsday weapon” by the Pentagon back when the drone-bearing torpedo was still known as the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System. Experts have warned the weapon could be used to cause artificial tsunamis that would prove dangerous for coastal cities.
The weapon was officially confirmed by Putin himself during his March 2018 State of the Nation address, where he touted work on “unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths — I would say extreme depths — intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest.”
“It is really fantastic,” he said at the time. “They are quiet, highly maneuverable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.”
Sea trials reportedly began in December and were said by Putin to be going successfullyduring this year’s State of the Nation talk in February. The Russian leader also briefed his parliament on progress regarding other state-of-the-art arms such as the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile and the Peresvet laser system.
As for the Belgorod itself, Vice Admiral Andrei Volozhinsky, chief of the main staff of Russia’s navy, called the submarine “a vessel, that with its amazing properties, will guarantee the security of the motherland,” according to a press release.