Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is Russia Developing a new, Massive Dirty Nuclear Weapon to be Delivered by a Drone Submarine!?!

On November 10, 2015 President Putin held a regular meeting with his generals in Sochi to discuss development of the Russian strategic forces. The president used the occasion to complain again about U.S. missile defense plans and to warn that Russia will do whatever it takes to preserve the strategic balance.

But that was not the most interesting part of the news story. One sharp observer (MJ) noticed that the camera took a peek at one of the documents prepared for the meetings (it is at 1:46 in the news story). It showed a summary of one of the projects that presumably were discussed at the meeting as part of the plan to restore that strategic balance that the U.S. missile defense system so blatantly undermines.

The project is called "Ocean Multipurpose System 'Status-6'" with the TsKB MT Rubin design bureau listed as the lead developer (Rubin is the design bureau that built virtually all submarines that are currently in service). A brief paragraph describes the mission of the proposed system as follows:

Damaging the important components of the adversary's economy in a coastal area and inflicting unacceptable damage to a country's territory by creating areas of wide radioactive contamination that would be unsuitable for military, economic, or other activity for long periods of time.
The picture that follows shows that at the core of the weapon system is an underwater autonomous drone ("self-propelled underwater craft" or SPA), which could be delivered by one of the two submarines - Project 09852 or Project 09851. For some reason, the drone is shown as attached to the bottom of the 09852 submarine, but not to the 09851. Te text is hard to read, but it appears that Project 09852 submarine will carry four drones and Project 09852 - either 3 or 6. Given that 09852 is a smaller submarine (its displacement is shown as "10000 t" vs. what looks like a larger number for 09852), it's probably 3. It certainly does not look like "1", although "2" is a possibility.

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