Russia is developing a new underwater torpedo with a nuclear warhead described as a “doomsday weapon,” according to a new Defense Department report.
The Pentagon quietly acknowledged that Russia is developing a “Status-6” system for the first time ever on Friday with a 74-page report.
The Nuclear Posture Reviewdescribed a “new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo,” which could be deployed from beneath a submarine.
The torpedo could feasibly travel undetected for thousands of miles underwater, before unleashing radioactive fallout on coastal cities in the U.S.
News of the Status-6 system first surfaced in 2015, when a Russian state television broadcast showed Russian President Vladimir Putin looking at a graphic depicting the Status-6 system.
But Pavel Podvig, an arms control expert, told NPR the Status-6 system might not even exist.
He floated the possibility that the graphic, showing a non-existent nuclear delivery system, was deliberately included in the broadcast as a ploy for Russia to flex some military might.
But Podvig also warned it might not all be smoke and mirrors. “My best guess is that there is a project to design an underwater vehicle with a purpose, unknown at this point. There is something there,” he told NPR.
The Pentagon-led review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago.
The report calls for the introduction of both “low yield nukes” on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the reintroduction of submarine-launched cruise missiles, or SLCMs.
The report drew blistering criticism from arms control groups for mentioning cyberattacks as an incident that might provoke a U.S. nuclear strike.
Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the administration is blurring the line between nuclear and conventional war-fighting.
“President Trump is embarking on a reckless path — one that will reduce U.S. security both now and in the longer term,” she said.
With News Wire Services
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