Belgorod sub has tested the Poseidon nuclear drone launch system

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian Navy’s Oscar II-class submarine Belgorod has conducted tests of the Poseidon nuclear super torpedo launch system. This was reported by the state news agency TASS, citing a source from the Ministry of Defense.

Russia acquired Belgorod sub: carrier of 6 nuclear Poseidon torpedoes
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The tests consisted of a series of launch tests of the nuclear super torpedo. According to the TASS source, the Belgorod crew tested the Poseidon launch system at various depths. When and where the tests were held is not reported. TASS emphasizes that the information has not been officially announced by the Department of the Russian Navy.

On October 3, 2022, the Belgorod submarine disappeared from NATO radars, BulgarianMilitary.com reported at the time. Then several media in central Europe, among them the Italian La Repubblica, suggested that Poseidon tests were possible in the Kara Sea area.

Belgorod is a special-purpose nuclear submarine. Unlike any other submarine in the world, the Belgorod has no cruise or anti-ship missile launch systems. The only armament is six Poseidon nuclear torpedoes. I.e. Belgorod is a carrier of nuclear weapons.

However, Russia is keeping the characteristics of the submarine a secret. Assumptions about her abilities are based on allegations, most of them from Russian sources. Thus, some claim that its scope is unlimited, without specifying otherwise. It is believed that the crew is 110 submariners, that the speed of the submarine is 32 knots and the endurance underwater can last for four consecutive months.

Russia acquired Belgorod sub: it carries six Poseidon nukes
Photo credit: hisutton.com

If you follow the archives of announcements in the Russian media over the years, you will notice that in 2012, Belgorod received a change in its hull. I.e. just then the cruise missile launchers were removed.

Belgorod was originally part of the Russian Navy’s Project 949A, known as the Antey-class submarines. Then, before 2012, Belgorod was designed to be armed with four 533 mm torpedo tubes. Plans for the submarine included the RPK-2 Vyuga anti-submarine weapon, which carries a 15 kt nuclear warhead. It had torpedo tubes to launch the RPK-6 Vodopad/RPK-7 Veter torpedo, which carried a 200 kt nuclear warhead.

After the hull changes we mentioned, the submarine was built a year late. According to the plan, it was planned to be launched in 2018, but it is happening in 2019. After several tests, Belgorod entered service on July 8, 2022.

Like the Belgorod, the Poseidon nuclear super torpedo is shrouded in mystery and speculative capabilities. In Japan, they claim that there is currently no weapon in the world that can counter Poseidon.

The functionality of the torpedo has also been changed. Poseidon doesn’t attack coastal targets for nuclear destruction but triggers a nuclear blast capable of creating a tsunami 57x higher than the Empire State Building. I.e. the explosion of the nuclear warhead in Poseidon causes a tsunami at least 500 meters high.

Russian UUV caused a tsunami 57x higher the Empire State Building - poseidon torpedo
Photo credit: Pravda.ru

One impressive feature that is often cited is the Poseidon Nuclear Power Plant. Experts say that because of it, the torpedo has an unlimited range of action. Among the military and media, Poseidon is known by his nickname “weapon of the Last Judgment”.

According to Russian sources, the Poseidon nuclear torpedo [Poseidon nuclear drone] is an autonomous weapon. Its length is 24 meters and its diameter is 2 meters. This makes it the largest torpedo in the world. Its underwater speed is believed to be in the range of 70 knots – information again coming from Russian sources. This speed is equal to 130 km/h. According to some reports, the torpedo carries a nuclear warhead with the equivalent of 2 megatons.

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