The US seems deeply concerned about what experts call the Russian “super-weapon” Poseidon 2M39 torpedo, according to reports. This comes amid the huge Russian military build-up and testing of its latest weapons in the Arctic.
Poseidon 2M39 torpedo is an autonomous, nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead that could bypass most of the shore-based defenses.
According to CNN, the West, especially the US, has expressed concern about the Russian super-weapon. Poseidon is one of the six new strategic weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018. It is supposedly in the advanced stages of development.
The weapon, which looks like a small submarine, can be used as a nuclear deterrent against hostile bases and naval stations. Its launch and functioning are synonymous with an advanced, sophisticated nuclear-armed torpedo with a [speculated] blast yield of 2-100 Mt (classified). It is also capable of delivering conventional payloads.
In an article written by H I Sutton for Forbes in November 2019, he mentioned Poseidon as “one of the most disruptive weapons currently being developed. It is also one of the least well understood”.
— RT (@RT_com) February 20, 2019
As earlier reported by The EurAsian Times, the weapon has been designed to hit coastal cities with a 2 megaton warhead, around “133 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima”.
Two vessels that are speculated to carry the Poseidon, the Project 09852 Oscar-class submarine Belgorod and the Project 09851 Khabarovsk submarines, are new boats launched in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Oscar-class submarines could carry four Poseidon torpedoes at the same time for a total yield of up to 400 megatonnes.
According to some reports, the Poseidon may also have a seabed or mobile site launch option. In the seabed option, known as Skif, Poseidon can wait on the seafloor in a special container for as long as necessary.
It is believed that the Russian auxiliary vessel ZVEZDOCHKA 600 (Project 20180) with ice-breaking capability is being used to test the Poseidon drones. Hence, there is a possibility that the same ship can be used as the platform for deploying and retrieving a seabed version of the drone.
— MilitaryRussia.Ru (@DnKornev) March 7, 2019
The seabed launch option was patented (RU 2135929 patent) by the Poseidon designer Alexander Shalnev.
While the specifications remain confidential, experts have stated that Poseidon appears to be a torpedo-shaped robotic mini-submarine, which can travel at speeds of 185 km/h (100 kn). More recent information suggests a top speed of 100 km/h (54 kn), with a range of 10,000 km (5,400 nmi; 6,200 mi) and a depth maximum of 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
The typical depth of the drone may be about 50–100 meters for increased stealth features on low-speed stealth mode. Low depth on stealth mode is preferred because sound waves move to the ocean floor and reduce the radius of detection. Submarines use the same strategy in silent running mode.