Russian nuclear-tipped underwater drones it is realization of revolutionary Soviet program

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Klavesin-2R-PM

On 1 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed a slew of new defence systems, including a new nuclear-tipped autonomous underwater complexes.

The Russian leader said the high-speed underwater systems also have an “intercontinental” range and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could target both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities.

“We see increased opportunities with the armed forces,” he said. “We’ve done a lot to strengthen our army and navy and they are equipped with modern weaponry.”

Russian prominent military analyst Leonid Nersisyan noted that the idea of developing giant missiles and torpedoes with a nuclear propulsion system and a powerful nuclear-tipped charge appeared in the USSR back in the 1950s, the project was called the T-15 and was actively promoted by A.D. Sakharov.

Technologies of those years did not allow the creation of a sufficiently compact nuclear reactor, there were also problems with carriers for such a large item.

However, modern technologies have made the old concept realizable – the scheme of the “Status-6” unmanned underwater vehicle with a nuclear propulsion system was “accidentally” released at Russian media in 2015. Since then, there has been virtually no official information on it, but there have been a lot of rumors about whether the project is real or it’s just some kind of concept. Recently, the existence of the project was recognized in the report of the US Department of Defence. Now it was officially confirmed by Russian military officials.

The carrier for unmanned underwater vehicles, judging by the video demonstrated during the speech of Russian President, is the “Belgorod” (project 09852) nuclear submarine.

The submarine carries torpedoes with a nuclear propulsion system (previously the media reported the range of 10,000 km of Status-6, a depth of 1 km and a cruising speed of up to 185 km / h), as well as the autonomous unmanned underwater vehicles of the Klavesin-2R-PM (these vehicles are capable of performing various search and reconnaissance tasks, mapping the seabed, etc.).

As for the detection and interception of “nuclear” torpedoes, then, given the depth and speed of their progress, this task is extremely difficult. At the same time, the achievement of even one torpedo of the enemy’s coast will lead to disastrous consequences.

The article is written by Dylan Malyasov (Editor-in-Chief Defence-Blog)