Home » Budget Industry » Analyst: Doomsday Nuclear Torpedo Leak Gives Insight to Russian Strategic Mindset, Ballistic Missile Defense Anxiety


Analyst: Doomsday Nuclear Torpedo Leak Gives Insight to Russian Strategic Mindset, Ballistic Missile Defense Anxiety

A briefing slide of the alleged Status-6 nuclear torpedo captured from Russian television via the BBC

A briefing slide of the alleged Status-6 nuclear torpedo captured from Russian television via the BBC

A proposed Russian submarine launched doomsday weapon — the existence of which was almost certainly leaked by the Kremlin — gives clues to the Russian mindset for the development of new strategic weapons in the face of the West’s increasing ballistic missile defense capability and Russia’s shrinking national assets, a naval analyst told USNI News on Thursday.

The Status-6 weapon was revealed on Wednesday during a Russian broadcast of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and military leaders in Sochi and a screengrab of the weapon was widely circulated following the broadcast.

The weapon is allegedly a “robotic mini-submarine” capable of speeds 100 knots with a range of 6,200 miles, according to state controlled press and designed to “destroy important economic installations of the enemy in coastal areas and cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country’s territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination, rendering them unusable for military, economic or other activity for a long time,” according to a translation of the document by the BBC.

Immediately before the reveal of the weapon Putin was discussing how the emerging U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) network in Europe was “an attempt to undermine the existing parity in strategic nuclear weapons and essentially to upset the whole system of global and regional stability,” according to the BBC.

Russia has been highly critical of the creation of two Aegis Ashore installations — one in Romania and one in Poland — that are land-based versions of the BMD capability found on some U.S. Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers (DDG-51). In addition to Aegis Ashore, the U.S. has recently completed the basing of a quartet of BMD capable Burkes in Rota, Spain that are part of the Obama administrations European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to BMD.

 The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This is the test asset for the Aegis Ashore system on Jan. 8, 2014. US Navy Photo

The deckhouse for the Aegis Ashore system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This is the test asset for the Aegis Ashore system on Jan. 8, 2014. US Navy Photo

Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World — told USNI News on Thursday the reveal of Status-6 was telling as to the current Russian arms development mindset.

“It shows that they’re thinking about non-conventional weapons in line with Cold War era thinking,” he said.

“The West is developing weapons — like the Small Diameter Bomb — that create a smaller more targeted effect. This type of weapon is exactly the opposite.”

The differences in the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian defense industrial base are much more extreme than the West’s.

For example, the Russian’s are second only to the U.S. in the development of nuclear submarines and their latest attack submarine design has earned praise from U.S. Navy officials.

However, the Russians lag behind the West in the manufacture of maritime gas turbines and Russian Navy’s surface ship construction is suffering as a result.

Spain based BMD ship USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) off the coast of Théoule-Sur-Mer, France on Aug. 13, 2015. Cook is one of four BMD ships based in Europe. US Navy Photo

Spain based BMD ship USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) off the coast of Théoule-Sur-Mer, France on Aug. 13, 2015. Cook is one of four BMD ships based in Europe. US Navy Photo

A weapon like Status-6 would play into Russia’s current military strengths and provide the Kremlin with a strategic deterrent that would bypass the growing American acumen at BMD, he said.

The weapon also comes with the benefit of being relatively inexpensive. While Putin has pledged to boost military spending, the last year has seen a massive drop in the value of Russian currency and decline in revenues from oil.

“They want to develop weapons that are cheap but also effective,” Wertheim said.

The reveal of the weapon also allows the Russians to display a degree of self confidence and capability as Russia begins to rebuild its high-end military capability after decades of neglect.

“They need a saber to rattle,” Wertheim said.
“Whether or not this turns out to be real or a figment of their imagination remains to be seen but it shows where they’re going with their weapons development and that they’re thinking outside the box.”

 

  • Richard5877

    I think the Russian’s and China are far behind the US!!!

    • Michael Nunez

      That’s the Truth , Free-Thinking People vs Non-Free Thinking People….. .

      • Taitennek

        Free thinking is about the only thing left.
        And…… US citizens are not aware of the plans of their Government in Europe and Middle East.
        Do you really think that the US of A survive the upcoming clash when your President decide to throw with B61 bombs in Europe?
        If the next World War there will be no winners, only loosers and the world will become one big nuclear dessert!!!!

        • Michael Nunez

          Stick to the Article , don’t go off into the wild blue yonder….. .

    • VK HAM

      America has the F-35 JSF far behind the schedule, 8 years !

      Total US debt $65 Trillion , congratulations Americans.

      • Richard5877

        Were did you get $65 trillion in dept???

        • Marcus Aurelius

          Go back to US poor school system.

          • Secundius

            @ Marcus Aurelius.

            I believe “VK NAM”, is using Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Infinite Improbability Mathematics”. You take an ~$18.2-Trillion USD Debt and Multiply by ~3.571428571 and you get his $65-TRILLION USD DEBT…

        • Michael Nunez

          Don’t worry about the dept. We’ll just make them eat it …… .

  • johan

    It’s a rather poor idea for deterrence. The effect of such a weapon would be minuscule compared to the retaliatory response that would be expected.

    • Marcus Grant

      this weapon itself is retaliatory responce (one of) – don’t you see? – it is not initial attack weapon

  • publius_maximus_III

    Doomsday weapons? Where’s Dr. Strangelove when we need him? Our new strategic plan is to wipe out all their vodka distilleries in one swift surgical strike.

    • Marcus Grant

      Our new strategic plan is to wipe out all their vodka distilleries in one swift surgical strike.

      ===

      and then this thing strikes you like in 222 places along both coasts…

      • Secundius

        @ Marcus Grant.

        Naaah, that would just Piss Them Off! A DRUNK Russian is better than a SOBER ONE…

        • Marcus Grant

          A DRUNK Russian is better than a SOBER ONE

          —-

          it is a matter of your taste….

        • NavySubNuke

          I reject this assertion on the grounds that there has never been and nor is there likely ever to be a sober Russian for us to compare to. However, if we ever do find a sober Russian it would be interesting to do tests on them and find out.

    • Michael Nunez

      That’s hitting below the Belt . Russian Distilleries are their National Treasure and their source of inspiration .

  • B-Sabre

    The noise from carrying that thing under a Borei-class sub (left-hand picture) must sound like a junk wagon on a cobblestone road….

    • VK HAM

      your American “dream”,…hehe,

      Russian made torpedo two decades ago. Shkval speed 370 km/h ; nuclear warheads 150kt

      • Secundius

        @ VK HAM.

        SO WHAT, So did the German’s. With their Diehl Bgt. “Superkavitierender Unterwasserlauforper” (ex Barracuda). And the Ukraine SOLD several VA-111 Shkval that they had in Storage…

      • NavySubNuke

        You could ask the crew of the Kursk how well that torpedo worked out for them if they weren’t all dead.

    • Michael Nunez

      One has to believe , Putin is working with Saturday Nite Live . Putin comes out on stag holding a so-called sickness-6 torpedo , stumbles and reveals it’s a Pinata….. Ha Ha . With Oil prices down this is the Beat we can do right now….. .

  • motun

    I think the west continuous underestimation of the country that revolutionized the space industry plays to Russia’s favor. Isn’t that why the west is shocked at their capability displayed in Syria? If a country has technological know how, there is no such thing as lagging behind,all you have to do is just do it. Russia doesn’t stupidly spend billions on 1 equipment like the west so bragging about your big budget is stupid if Russia still scares you

  • Peter

    Lol, you guys are very naive. You think the Russians allowed a news crew into a top level meeting to discuss a new weapon system and the news just happened to get a screen shot of it? With all of their old junk subs?? If there is another race with them then we have lost the intelligence war already. You really think the Chinese and Russians are far behind us in technology? They have the most advanced cyber espionage programs out. They have been stealing our secrets for years, they don’t need to replicate our weapon systems, just need to know how to evade and disable them.

  • Secundius

    This sounds too Stupid even for Putin. An “Robotic” Torpedo, probably “Kaiten” size Mini-Sub/Torpedo with a ~6,000-kilometer range and Burst Speed’s in excess of 100-knots. Can’t be AIP powered, to much Energy Required. A Nuclear-Powered Robotic Torpedo, Running Around LOOSE in the Oceans of the World. Where ANY SHIP is a Potential Target, including YOUR OWN…

    • Marcus Grant

      it is underwater thing – how will you detect it?

      • Secundius

        @ Marcus Grant.

        If it’s “Robotic”, even an Inertial Navigation System can be “Confused”. So most likely a Semi-Submersible or a POP-UP to get GPS Navigational Reference and get Command Instructions from Home Base. And even a “Kaiten” size Mini-Sub/Torpedo is going to Draw Attention from a “By Chance Encounter” with a Sub-Hunter or Destroyer/Frigate Operating in the Area. And by “Happenstance” it does sink something, even by accident. The DIPLOMATIC GLOVES COME OFF and WAR GLOVE’S GO ON…

        • Marcus Grant

          robotic doesn’t mean it crosses the whole ocean on its own – most likely launched by a submarine 10-20 miles away from the coast – just no time to detect it and to react…

          • Secundius

            @ Marcus Grant.

            Putin claim’s it has a Range in excess of 6,000-kilometers. Why would it need a Support Tender, “unless” there’s something LESS to this Torpedo that Putin isn’t telling…

          • Marcus Grant

            Why would it need a Support Tender

            ====

            why? – because the first sentence of this article is the following :
            “A proposed Russian submarine launched doomsday weapon”……to translate it from english means that this weapon should be LAUNCHED from a submarine

  • Curt

    I had a chance to tour a Sovremenny-class destroyer in 1993. Full tour through their weapons control room. It was clearly primitive beneath anything that could function capably in combat. the vaunted Russian destroyer was a Potemkin village. This torpedo is equally Potemkin. It’s only deterrent effect is in rumor of its existence…for the weak-minded who believe it.

    • sferrin

      Dismissing the other guy as incompetent is always the most effective strategy.

    • Michael Nunez

      They are called Trolls…… .

  • Marcus Aurelius

    The Status- 6 is a Real Nuclear weapon under water [ bye, bye … Pentagon missile offense system ] against U.S. Global Cops. Ready in 2025. Actually the prototype passed first test.
    Well done Russia, Mr. Putin fights against corrupted US Congress warmongers or McCain’s moderate terrorists.

  • VK HAM

    Russian will delivery most advanced weapon Status-6 in 2025, Pentagon must buy lots of toilet paper from now.

    • Secundius

      @ VK HAM.

      We can get Russian Ruble’s, there NOT WORTH ANYTHING…

  • Robbins Mitchell

    “Boy,I wish we had one of those doomsday nuclear torpedoes”

    ~Gen. Buck Turgidson~

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    Looks like Russian trickery is alive and well. But as discover they were not 10 feet but they sure had a lot of war equipment available. I wonder how much war equipment do they still have that is useable.

  • Dave_TX

    This Putin playing to the citizenry of Russia. He has a weak hand and stays in power by convincing the people at home, with the help of the state-controlled media, that only he stands between them and the rest of the world which is constantly plotting against Russia. Putin needs conflict to distract the people.

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