Poseidon Unmanned Underwater Vehicle of Russia With Unlimited Range and Nuclear Warhead-Real Threat To Opposition

Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle of Russia with Unlimited range and nuclear warhead is the real threat to opposition. It can be carried in the Khabarovsk Class nuclear powered submarine.

Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle
Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle

The Poseidon is a new Russian Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) with a nuclear propulsion system and nuclear warhead. Essentially it is an autonomous nuclear torpedo that has unlimited range. Soviets began development of this weapon back in 1989. However development was stopped due to collapse of the Soviet Union, end of the Cold War and in the light of nuclear disarmament.

However recently development was reviewed in Russia. In 2015 information on this weapon was deliberately disclosed by the Russian MoD. Initially this project seemed to be too fantastical to be real. However in 2016 Pentagon reports confirmed existence of this nuclear-powered UUV. During the same year Russia conducted its tests. In 2018 the Russian nuclear UUV was officially named the Poseidon.

Prior to that this weapon was known under various names, including Kanyon and Status-6. It is scheduled to become operational in 2027. Once this weapon is in service Russia will have a new type of nuclear weapon delivery system. It is clear that Russia devoted significant resources for this nuclear UUV program.

   The Poseidon was designed to be carried and launched by submarines. Its main role is to engage strategic enemy targets, such as carrier battle groups and naval bases. The Poseidon will approach its targets and will detonate its nuclear warhead.

   This UUV can carry a nuclear warhead with a blast yield of 2 MT. Though it is possible that the blast yield could be more powerful. This UUV reportedly has a range of 5 200 nautical miles (10 000 km). In 2019 Russian news agencies reported that Poseidon uses supercavitation and can reach underwater speed of a whooping 108 knots (200 km/h).

That’s significantly faster than torpedoes can travel. Furthermore it is planned that Poseidons will operate at depths of 1 000 m, making them difficult to intercept. Furthermore there are some indications that this UUV can operate under Arctic ice pack, where it is much harder to detect and engage. So considering its capabilities the Poseidon UUV can be a tough nut to intercept.

   A special weapons ship Zvezdochka (pennant number 600) is involved in Poseidon’s testing. It is used to retrieve Poseidon UUVs. Interestingly this ship has an ice-breaking bow and can operate in the Arctic.

   This UUV uses a nuclear propulsion system with pumpjet propulsor.

   It uses internal guidance system, possibly with external mission update. It is also fitted with obstacle avoidance sonar.

   Some sources report that a Russian special purpose submarine Sarov was used for testing of the Poseidon. It is speculated that Sarov can launch these UUVs.

   Another submarine built specially to launch the Poseidons is Belgorod. Since 2012 this incomplete Russia’s Oscar II class cruise missile submarine is being converted to special purpose submarine. Its main role will be to carry the Poseidon UUVs. The Belgorod was launched in 2019 and is planned that this boat will be commissioned in 2020-2021. It can carry 6 Poseidon UUVs.

   Russian Navy ordered 4 Khabarovsk Class nuclear-powered submarines. Each boat of this class will also carry 6 Poseidon UUVs. The lead boat was laid down in 2014.

Poseidon Variants

Skif. In 2013 Russian media reported that there is a seabed-launched weapon that can be on a seabed in standby mode. Development program was known as the Skif. Some sources suggest that this weapon project goes back to 1988. Once activated this weapon can hit land and sea targets.

Most likely it is some kind of seabed-launched version of the Poseidon, or another UUV that can be laid down on the seabed and launched in case of war. The Zvezdochka ship is a likely candidate for laying the seabed UUVs. In 2017 Russian media reported that these seabed-launched weapons are in service with the Russian forces. Interestingly deployment of nuclear weapons on the seabed beyond 12 nautical mile (22 km) territorial limit contravenes the Seabed Arms Control Treaty of 1972.

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