Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be mounting a new challenge to the West and raising the level of nuclear confrontation with it even further.
The alarm is caused this time by a NATO intelligence report, which was sent to the most important allied headquarters in recent days, as revealed by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
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The report refers to the movements of the Russian nuclear submarine Belgorod (photo, top, by Russian Navy), which entered service in July.
It is now in the Arctic sea and there are fears that its mission is to test for the first time the Poseidon super torpedo, which is being described as the ‘Weapon of the Apocalypse’.
It is an underwater drone, which was presented by the Kremlin in 2018, as one of the systems that will enable strategic superiority in Russia.
Essentially, Poseidon is a nuclear warhead that travels under the surface of the sea for tens of thousands of kilometers and then explodes near the coast, causing a radioactive tsunami.
This radioactive wave can wipe out metropolises like New York or Los Angeles. Experts explain that the same effect can be achieved with intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have been around since the 1960s.
But the United States has built a network of satellites with infrared sensors precisely to detect the launch of Russian missiles as the ignition of their engines causes high temperatures.
In contrast, satellites do not see what is happening in the depths of the sea: the super-torpedo was designed to emit very little heat and travel silently at over a hundred kilometers per hour.
As for the K-329 Belgorod submarine, it is considered the model of the new concept of warfare that Putin’s admirals have adopted in recent years, following the increase in tension with the US.
Lacking large aircraft carriers and cruisers to compete with the US Navy, they have focused on submarines.
In 2019, Putin ordered that plans for a strategic submarine be modified to power drones and mini-submarines capable of operating at depths where no NATO vessel can dive.
The beastly submarine
“Belgorod” is 184 meters long and 15 meters wide and can travel at about 60 kilometers per hour in a dive. It is estimated that it can remain at the bottom for up to 120 days without having to surface. The propellers are also considered innovative because they are designed to evade sonar.
Its arsenal includes the Poseidon super-torpedo, a 24-meter missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about two megatons.
In recent days, Belgorod is often mentioned in analyzes about the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, because this is one of the activities for which it was designed.
But Western intelligence claims it never left the White Sea, in fact it is reported to be at the entrance to the Arctic for a series of secret tests.
The suspicion, conveyed by NATO’s report to allied headquarters, is that the Poseidon super-torpedo is to be tested in the Kara sea area, codenamed “Status-6”: a 24-meter-long torpedo with a nuclear warhead possibly two megatons.
“Whole new class of weapons”
“It is a completely new class of weapons that will force a change in the planning of Western forces, leading to the definition of new requirements and new means to deal with it,” wrote expert HI Sutton, as noted by the Italian newspaper.
Poseidon’s development has been ongoing for years, with NATO officials cautious in their estimates. Allegedly, some tests were carried out as early as 2015, but there were never any launches from Belgorod.
Few believe the super-torpedo could already be operational, but even the mere announcement of its test would allow the Kremlin to demonstrate a unique capability in its tug-of-war with the West: a weapon against which there are no defenses.
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