The Russian Navy is set to receive the Belgorod, a special-purpose submarine that will carry nuclear-capable underwater drones, in the summer of 2022, Tass reported.
The nuclear-powered vessel — which is said to be the largest submarine in the world — has been developed to facilitate a variety of military objectives.
The 14,700-ton war machine has been built to accommodate the nuclear-tipped Poseidon torpedoes that are guided by artificial intelligence. The latest report mentioned that the final sea trials are almost completed.
“The transfer of the Belgorod nuclear submarine to the fleet is planned for the summer of 2022,” it reported. This event is expected to be scheduled to coincide with Russian Navy Day, which will be commemorated on July 31.
It will most likely serve in the Pacific fleet that might pose a threat to US naval bases on the West Coast as well as key cities like Los Angeles, according to the report. Moreover, owing to its stealthy design and limitless nuclear power, it could travel undiscovered to any territory.
The report comes amid the looming threat of Ukraine’s invasion by Russia. The US embassy in Ukraine has asked its citizens to consider leaving the country as the security situation remains unpredictable owing to a massive Russian military build-up along its border with Ukraine.
Submarine Armed With Nuclear Drones
The Belgorod is a huge, customized special-purpose vessel manufactured from the hull of an Oscar-II cruise missile submarine that was never completed. It is said to be capable of housing everything from Losharik mini-submarines to underwater drones like the Klavesin-2R.
The hull was stretched to about 184 meters (604 feet), and the ship’s displacement was increased to 30,000 tonnes (when submerged), which was more than half as much as the US Navy’s Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines.
The Belgorod, the first submarine to deploy Poseidon drones, appears to be capable of carrying up to six units. In total, Russia intends to deploy just over 30 Poseidon drones. The Belgorod cannot be easily replicated due to its unique building history; it would also be prohibitively expensive.
Poseidon is a nuclear-powered underwater drone armed with a two-megaton atomic payload, one of six new weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his 2018 state address. The weapon, which may be detonated “thousands of feet” below the surface, is designed to cause a radioactive wave that will contaminate everything within a large area of effect.
— RT (@RT_com) February 20, 2019
HI Sutton, a prominent Naval expert, noted in his article that Belgorod will be crewed by the Russian Navy but operated by GUGI, the secretive Main Directorate Deep Sea Research organization.
He also mentioned that the modifications done on the submarine are likely to be extensive and may include some latest technology, but underneath she is still an earlier generation of submarine, and likely to be less stealthy than the latest generation.
Belgorod, according to Sutton, is intended for the covert placement of the Harmony submarine detection network. Harmony, a nuclear-powered underwater detection system, could assist Russian forces in detecting enemy submarines crossing crucial areas. The key to their success, though, is their ability to operate in the shadows, which Belgorod was practically made for.
A Threat To The West?
Poseidon is one of the major threats to enemy forces. The nuclear drone or the autonomous torpedo is apparently capable of taking down big coastal cities, posing a clear strategic danger to US infrastructure.
With a high speed 100 km/h and a maximum depth of one kilometer, Poseidon is believed to be too fast and too deep to be reliably intercepted; it can also do “three-dimensional” evasive maneuvers to increase its longevity.
In a speech describing Russia’s nuclear triad advancements in 2018, Putin called Poseidon a “super-weapon”. It will be an intercontinental strategic launcher that may be exempt from the US’s New START limitations.
One potential threat that this submarine could pose is disrupting undersea phone cables with its robot arms. These cables are considerably important as they handle 97 percent of internet traffic and are responsible for $10 trillion in daily financial transactions.
With the induction of this submarine in the Russian Navy, there will always be a possibility to take down the internet, cut Britain off the rest of the world, halt financial transactions, and disrupt military communications overseas.