Russia’s Status-6 “Poseidon” torpedo has excited the fears — or the overactive imaginations — of Russia’s enemies. How do you stop a nuclear-powered torpedo designed to bury enemy cities under a tsunami?
Russia’s Status-6 “Poseidon” torpedo has excited the fears — or the overactive imaginations — of Russia’s enemies. Calling it is a torpedo is a misnomer.
While the precise capabilities of the weapon are mysterious, it appears to be about 80 feet long — which makes it more like a mini-submarine or an underwater ballistic missile.
Poseidon is propelled by a nuclear reactor to a speed of 115 miles per hour and operates at deep depths up to 3,300 feet.
It is armed with a massive 100-megaton warhead powerful enough to generate a giant tidal wave to destroy coastal cities.
Nonetheless, as a psychological weapon, it’s brilliant. There is something frightening, like a Hollywood monster movie, about the thought of a robot tsunami-bomb creeping along the
Stopping weapons like Poseidon will likely require Western navies to develop a new generation of torpedoes. “The current families of US Navy and Royal Navy torpedoes were developed to counter fast deep-diving Russian submarines,” writes Sutton. “While they are highly capable, the even greater combination of speed and depth of Poseidon means that new weapons will need to be developed. These are likely to be characterized by increases in range and autonomy, blurring the distinction with Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs).”
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