By Kevin Airs For Daily Mail Australia 01:33 02 Mar 2022, updated 06:15 02 Mar 2022
Frightening graphic reveals the horrific carnage a nuclear bomb would cause in Australia’s biggest cities – as Vladimir Putin’s nuclear sabre-rattling sparks global fears
A devastating Russian nuclear missile nicknamed ‘Satan’ could flatten every major Australian city if it’s unleashed in the very unlikely event of all-out , experts have warned.
Ruthless Russian President has put his nuclear arms on high alert after Ukraine troops held off his invading forces, sending a chill through the West.
Putin is now threatening the ultimate response in a bid to force into surrender after growing frustrated by the lack of progress in his invasion plan.
‘I’m ordering the and chief of the general staff to switch the Russian army’s deterrent forces onto a high alert mode of combat standby duty,’ he said on Monday.
Fears are growing that if Ukraine continues to repel the invaders, Putin may resort to using small scale battlefield nuclear weapons to force them into submission.Ruthless Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) has put his nuclear arms on high alert after Ukraine forces held off his invading forces, sending a chill through the West
Curtin University nuclear expert Victor Abramowicz insisted: ‘Unless Putin is literally crazy, which is possible – he’s already done things which are very unusual…
‘But unless he’s frothing at the mouth, he’s not going to start a nuclear war.
‘Using battlefield nuclear weapons would be an unmitigated disaster for Ukraine, but you’d need multiple steps for that to lead to missiles flying at Washington and Moscow.
‘Never underestimate the possibility of unintended escalation, but there are decades and decades of experience in trying to avoid and manage nuclear escalation.
‘A very, very great deal would need to go very wrong for it to end up in a position where this sort of stuff is happening.’Russia’s R-36M2 missile (pictured) – dubbed the SS-18 Mod5 Satan by NATO – has an 11,000km range, carrying 10 warheads, each with a 1megaton payloadRussia also has a fleet of nuclear-armed Typhoon-class submarines (pictured) patrolling oceans unseen and able to launch nukes without warning at targets anywhere in the world
Bizarrely though, Perth in Western Australia could be the first place in the world to be targeted if Putin tries to prove a point and frighten the west into thinking a bigger city could be on the cards next.
NATO generals have war-gamed various situations to pinpoint where Russia may target if it was ever to lash out in a bid to get the West to buckle to its demands.
WHY PERTH WAS AT TOP OF NUCLEAR HITLIST IN 1980s
At the height of the Cold War in the 1980s, Western generals would play out doomsday scenarios to anticipate nuclear attack possibilities.
One nightmare they came up with was Soviet Russia wanting to play hardball without starting an all-out nuclear war.
‘It would be a way of not attacking the US directly, which might prompt retaliation and destruction,’ revealed Curtin University academic Victor Abramowicz.
‘But you might drop a nuclear missile on Perth in particular because it was so isolated to show, “Look, we’ve just gone and wiped out a million people …so come to the negotiating table if you want to make sure the next one isn’t on Los Angeles.”
‘It was very hypothetical but back then the fear was that this was the sort of thing Moscow might do.
‘There was paranoia on all sides.’
And bombing Perth – because of its remoteness from nearby civilisation – emerged as a terrifying possibility.
They feared Russia may nuke Perth as a show of power and determination while still avoiding engaging the US in mutually-assured nuclear Armageddon.
Despite potentially killing up to half a million in the nuclear bombing, future effects would be limited, with the radiation fallout confined to the vast desert outback.
And now as the Ukraine invasion continues to stagnate in a frustrating stalemate for Russia, many are worried Putin will reach for his nuclear arsenal of 5977 warheads, the biggest in the world.
It dwarfs even the US nuclear stockpile of 5,428 warheads, while France has 290 and the UK has just 225.
Around 1600 of those Russian warheads are strategic and can be loaded onto intercontinental ballistic missiles which can reach almost anywhere in the world, including almost all of Australia.
Russia’s R-36M2 missile – dubbed the SS-18 Mod5 Satan by NATO – has an 11,000km range, carrying 10 warheads, each with a 1megaton payload.
Even if launched from within Russia’s borders, they are capable of reaching as far south as Melbourne before unleashing hell.
Russia also has a fleet of nuclear-armed Typhoon-class submarines patrolling oceans unseen and able to launch nukes without warning at targets anywhere in the world.
If Perth was specifically targeted by one of the Satan missiles, the effects would be devastating. If the Satan warheads explode in a 10MT airburst over Perth (pictured), modelling predicts 505,000 fatalities instantly, with another 575,000 injured. The central yellow sphere shows the area hit by the nuclear fireball. The darker grey ring is the serious damage blast radius. The larger orange circle is the radiation burn area, while the outer ring is the lighter damage area, with blown out windows and glass maiming injuriesA surface blast would restrict casualties to 327,000 dead and another 420,000 casualties, but it would taint the land for centuries to come with fallout spreading 1000km inland (pictured)
If the Satan warheads explode in a 10MT airburst over Perth, modelling by Nukemap predicts 505,000 fatalities instantly, with another 575,000 injured.
A surface blast would restrict casualties to 327,000 dead and another 420,000 casualties, but it would taint the land for centuries to come with fallout spreading 1000km inland.
But if the attack was to target Sydney or Melbourne, the carnage would be almost unimaginable.
Almost a million would die instantly in a 5km fireball which would engulf Sydney city centre, turning the inner-west, CBD and Eastern Suburbs to ash.
Buildings would be crushed to dust from Homebush to Collaroy to Cronulla.
If the airburst happened over Parramatta, the devastation would be even greater. The entire greater Sydney area from Penrith to Richmond to Palm Beach to Camden and the Royal National Park would be ablaze. If a nuclear attack targeted Sydney or Melbourne, the carnage would be almost unimaginableAlmost a million would die instantly in a 5km fireball which would engulf Sydney city centre, turning the inner-west, CBD and Eastern Suburbs to ash (pictured)A surface blast could cause a fifth or so less deaths and injuries, but create a radiation cloud that would stretch up the coast to Newcastle and beyond, blowing out to sea as far up as the Gold Coast (pictured)
DECODING PUTIN’S NUCLEAR THREAT
Putin’s warning putting his nuclear forces on ‘high alert mode of combat stand-by duty’ is seen as only step two of four on the way to a nuclear war, says Victor Abramowicz.
Expert Pavel Podvig adds that it probably puts them on a ‘preliminary command’ that would allow missiles to be fired to order.
But he considered at this stage that they would only be fired if the president suddenly vanished and enemy nukes hit Russian territory first.
David Cullen, of the Nuclear Information Service, compared it to UK nuclear submarine commanders being given letters of authority by the British PM for permission to launch missiles if London came under nuclear attack.
Anyone in the city left alive after the nuclear fireball and initial blast would be suffering third degree radiation burns all over their body, with many losing limbs.
The only saving grace might be that all their nerve-endings would probably be burnt away and they’d feel little to no pain.
Further out and windows in the Illawarra and Central Coast would be blown out by the blast, inflicting maiming injuries on locals, many of whom would be standing by a window to watch the distant explosion.
A surface blast could cause a fifth or so fewer deaths and injuries, but create a radiation cloud that would stretch up the coast to Newcastle and beyond, blowing out to sea as far up as the Gold Coast.
‘There’s no doubt that any large-scale nuclear weapons use would be quite catastrophic,’ Australian National University Professor Stephan Fruehling told the I’ve Got News For You podcast.
‘If you have a nuclear weapon that’s exploded on the ground, you’re looking at a very significant fallout plume and local contamination, which is essentially dangerous because of the radiotoxicity and contaminating water supplies and food chains.’
In Melbourne, a similar airburst explosion would instantly destroy everywhere around the CBD including Docklands, South and East Melbourne and Carlton in a deadly fireball. In Melbourne, a similar airburst explosion would instantly destroy everywhere around the CBD including Docklands, South and East Melbourne and Carlton in a near 3km fireball (pictured)
HOW CONVENTIONAL WAR COULD BLOW UP TO BECOME NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON
The underlying fear of nuclear weapons has rarely been an immediate leap to suddenly launching strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles at Washington or Moscow.
The biggest fear was one side using much smaller, tactical nuclear weapons to end a military deadlock in a localised battle – like Russia is now facing in Ukraine.
They could be used as a warning shot to the other side – and the rest of the world – of the need to surrender or face the might of a full nuclear attack.
Australian National University, Professor Stephan Fruehling told the I’ve Got News For You podcast tactical weapons may be used as a show of power to ‘flatten a few trees’.
‘It’s quite feasible to imagine a credible and deliberate use of nuclear weapons in a way that deliberately doesn’t kill anybody,’ he said.
‘In many ways, that would actually make a lot of sense.’
But it could provoke a response from other nuclear-equipped nations, keen to deliver their own message to the rival superpower.
And without intervention, that could then dramatically escalate into a full-on nuclear Armageddon.
Nuclear warfare expert Victor Abramowicz insisted though: ‘It’s a really pretty damn unlikely set of set of contingencies. It’s definitely possible – but extremely unlikely.’
More than 900,000 would die in a blink of an eye with another 1.3 million injured.
Everything from Sunshine West to Box Hill and north to Broadmeadows would be flattened in a 30km-wide blast range.
Everyone from Orangefields to Boronia to Whalan would be burnt to a crisp, with windows blown out and property damaged 85km from the epicentre, stretching from Frankston to Bacchus Marsh to Wallan.
A surface explosion would reduce the death total by a couple of hundred thousand, but the radiation cloud would stretch across Victoria, over Albany and Canberra and reach Sydney and Newcastle.
But nuclear expert Victor Abramowicz believes Putin is simply sabre-rattling at the west, for the moment.
‘It’s just signalling to America and the rest of the Western world who have been imposing sanctions,’ the Darwin-based Ostoya Consulting principal told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It’s trying to put a bit of the fear of God into them, in the sense that if you push too hard, you know, look what we might do… it’s just posturing.’
He added: ‘Sanctions may make life very unpleasant – but they’re not going to ruin Russia forever. Nuclear war would be the end of Russia and the world as we know it.
‘If it does, it would be catastrophic. If Melbourne has 40 per cent of its population instantly wiped out, the city ceases to exist.’
But Russian expert Dr Leonid Petrov insisted Australia would be very low on Putin’s list of target priorities.
‘When you have a limited supply of missiles, why would you launch one at Australia when it could be aimed at a target in the US?’ he said.
Mr Abramowicz said Russian warpower will ultimately overcome Ukraine in conventional warfare, without ever having to even consider using tactical battlefield nuclear weapons.
‘If the Russians do decide they actually want to fight properly – for want of a better phrase – they effectively can’t lose,’ he added.
Professor Fruelhing agreed and said Russia had restrained its military action so far to reinforce the idea that the invasion is somehow bringing the nation back into the Russian fold.
He added: ‘They are fighting, if you like, with one hand behind their back.’Putin is said to be frustrated at the lack of progress in his Ukraine invasion (pictured) and is now threatening the ultimate response in a bid to force the nation to surrenderRussia simply cannot lose even a conventional war against Ukraine, without having to resort to even battlefield nuclear weapons (pictured, Kyiv in flames as Russia attacks)
Mr Abramowicz added: ‘Their army is bigger and better and has more artillery and more rockets and more aircraft and more everything.
‘But once you start fighting properly, the war turns into more of a meat grinder, particularly to the Ukrainians.
‘This is when you start blowing up apartment blocks and launching huge artillery strikes and aircraft dropping bombs left, right and centre.
‘Tens of thousands of people will die and it’s terribly ugly.
‘The only way to avoid that is a negotiated settlement – but that could see insurgency attacks and a civil war that rolls on for years.’