Russia built an underwater nuclear torpedo with a massive warhead designed to cause tsunamis and devastate entire continents.
Russia will deploy what's been described as the deadliest nuclear weapon ever aboard mysterious submarines by 2020, Russian state media has announced, citing a Russian defense-industry source.
The "Poseidon" nuclear-powered torpedo — reputed to carry a 100 to 200 megaton nuclear warhead and meant to erupt underwater for maximum effect — will reportedly deploy aboard the Project 09852 sub Belgorod, which is a converted nuclear-powered cruise-missile sub expected to go on combat duty in 2020.
The Russian state news agency TASS said the new Belgorod subs could carry six of the Poseidon nuclear torpedoes, which are sometimes described as drones.
But Russia will reportedly not operate the mysterious submarine alongside its regular armed forces or other nuclear-powered subs. The Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research will run the ship, according to H.I. Sutton, who said the Belgorod would conduct covert missions with a smaller submarine in tow.
"Russia operates a small number of very small, nuclear-powered submarines that are capable of diving in excess of several thousand meters," Andrew Metrick, a research associate in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in 2016.
"It's probably the most shadowy part of the Russian undersea apparatus," he added.
The new Belgorod submarine is "not operated by their navy. It's operated by a separate branch of their ministry of defense," Metrick said.
In addition to six Poseidon torpedoes that experts say could wipe out almost all life on earth, Metrick and Sutton speculated the Belgorod could carry a smaller sub that could dive deeper to cut undersea cables and dramatically disrupt international communications and national economies.
While a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia would cause incredible death and destruction, and plunge much of the world into the dark ages, a stealthy submarine designed to launch six "doomsday" devices would be the most deadly weapon in human history and pose a direct threat to life on earth.
In discussion of the Russian Oscar class submarine and derivatives, Wikipedia notes the following about Project 09852:
"In December 2012, construction began on a special purpose research and rescue submarine, designated project 09852, and based on the incomplete project 949A (Oscar II class) submarine Belgorod. The submarine is reportedly designed to carry both manned (e.g. Project 18511 midget submarine) as well as unmanned (e.g. Klavesin-1R) underwater vessels. However, while carrying smaller unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) would be possible as-is on an Oscar-class hull, the accommodation of a midget submarine such as Project 18511 Paltus or the even larger Project 10831 Losharik, would probably require a major hull extension in order to accommodate a docking compartment. For example, the length of the submarine BS-64 Podmoskovye was increased by 9 metres (30 ft) even though the SLBM missile compartment was completely removed. It is estimated that Belgorod will be 184 metres (604 ft) long which would make it the longest submarine in the world.
Belgorod may also carry the rumored Kanyon (Status-6) strategic weapon, with four such weapons being carried horizontally (two on each side of the submarine) in place of the 24 SS-N-19 Shipwreck launchers for total yield of 400 megatonnes."
The Real Purpose of Russia's 100-Megaton Underwater Nuclear Doomsday Device, Business Insider, 11 Feb 2019