Vladimir Putin’s nuclear tsunami

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The idea is a terrible thing to think about.

A nuclear torpedo drone crawls across the ocean floor, slips under missile defenses off the coast, and detonates with a catastrophic impact near New York.

A huge wall of water rises from the sea, tears through the city, destroying everything in its wake, leaving the area inundated with toxic radioactivity.

When he revealed plans for his latest military nightmare a few years ago, everyone thought Vladimir Putin was bluffing.

Able to devastate a huge stretch of coastline with a multi-megaton warhead, the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo would set off a series of deadly radioactive tsunamis that would strike towns and cities, rendering them uninhabitable for decades.

This “doomsday” or “apocalypse torpedo” seemed just the kind of super weapon the saber-rattling Russian leader would invent to frighten opponents and bend them to his will.

At the time, US officials and defense experts dismissed it as fantasy.

But now the grim truth has emerged from the melting Arctic ice: Russia is really developing the Poseidon, sending a chill through the West.

The Poseidon 2M39 torpedo would trigger a series of deadly radioactive tsunamis that would smash villages and towns and render them uninhabitable for decades.  Pictured: Putin

The Poseidon 2M39 torpedo would trigger a series of deadly radioactive tsunamis that would smash villages and towns and render them uninhabitable for decades. Pictured: Putin

The Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone is being tested somewhere in Russia

The Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone is being tested somewhere in Russia

The Poseidon nuclear-powered underwater drone is being tested somewhere in Russia

At least three submarines adapted to carry the massive torpedoes are already being tested in the Arctic, where Putin’s regime is building an ominous military presence.

The region was once frozen and unnavigable, but the ice is melting and it has become crucial to Russia’s economic plan to open and control a northern shipping route from Europe to Asia.

The gradual disappearance of the ice barrier has also exposed the military vulnerability of Russia’s once impenetrable northern border.

Putin wants the 2M39 to be deployed in the Arctic by the summer of 2022 and, according to Russian media, has asked his Ministry of Defense to keep him closely informed of tests that started in February and will continue this year.

The existence of proposals for the 2M39 was first revealed, allegedly on purpose, in 2015 by a Russian general who was talking to Putin while carrying plans for the supposedly top secret weapon.

Three years later, Putin announced that Russia was developing the torpedo in a bombastic speech in which animated images showed nuclear warheads falling on the US.

While skeptics dismissed the Poseidon as a “paper tiger” meant to blow up the West, some defense experts insisted there was simply too much evidence that this project was deadly serious.

They pointed to evidence that Moscow was expensive to adapt submarines, fitting large underwater hangar doors in place of conventional torpedo tubes so that they would be able to launch such massive missiles.

Few now believe that Poseidon is a myth, although the precise possibilities and feasibility of such a megatorpedo remain the subject of intense debate.

In 2019, a seemingly harmless video of a Russian oceanographic research vessel completing sea trials near the Arctic was posted on YouTube.

Putin wants the 2M39 to be deployed in the Arctic by the summer of 2022 and, according to Russian media, has asked his Ministry of Defense to keep him closely informed of tests that started in February and will continue this year.  Pictured: Russia's Arctic Nagurskoye Air Base

Putin wants the 2M39 to be deployed in the Arctic by the summer of 2022 and, according to Russian media, has asked his Ministry of Defense to keep him closely informed of tests that started in February and will continue this year.  Pictured: Russia's Arctic Nagurskoye Air Base

Putin wants the 2M39 to be deployed in the Arctic by the summer of 2022 and, according to Russian media, has asked his Ministry of Defense to keep him closely informed of tests that started in February and will continue this year. Pictured: Russia’s Arctic Nagurskoye Air Base

Sharp-eyed military experts spotted a Poseidon torpedo on deck, sparking speculation that the weapon was designed to be launched from the sea bed – onto which it could be lowered from the side of the ship – as well as from a submarine.

That option, which prevents the submarine from being located and destroyed before the torpedo can be launched, would certainly be possible.

And since it has its own power plant on board – in fact, it behaves like an underwater drone – the torpedo’s range is virtually limitless, although some have estimated it at 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles).

What is known for certain is that the Poseidon is the largest torpedo ever built.

The remote-controlled weapon is more than six feet in diameter and 65 feet long, is 30 times the size of a standard heavy torpedo, and weighs an estimated 100 tons.

It’s nuclear-armed as well as nuclear-powered. Compared to intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is likely to be relatively slow and takes hours to reach a target.

A speed of up to 130 km / h from a pump using a water jet for propulsion is considered likely.

Western experts question Russian claims that it travels underwater at more than 200 mph, saying the technology required for this speed would make the torpedo loud enough to be easily detected.

And it’s detectability – or the lack of it – that’s key to this gun’s terrifying potential. It has the advantage of full stealth as it hugs the sea floor to get past missile defenses. Russian sources have described the torpedo as virtually unstoppable.

And if it achieves its purpose, there is the question of its potential to pulverize the city. Last November, Christopher A. Ford, then US Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation, described the Poseidon as intended to “flood US coastal cities with radioactive tsunamis.”

The scientific phenomenon of giant waves breaking while still far out to sea, known as the Van Dorn effect, is well known and the idea of ​​a giant nuclear torpedo capable of creating such waves was raised by the US as far back as the Cold War. examined.

However, studies by the United States Navy in the 1950s and 1960s concluded that most of a mega wave’s energy is dissipated when it breaks on the continental shelf before reaching the coast, so they were considered less than ideal weapons.

That said, the Poseidon was initially described as carrying a 100 megaton warhead – even larger than the Soviets’ air-dropped Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested.

With that kind of payload, the explosion could trigger a massive tsunami far offshore, meaning the Poseidon doesn’t even have to get close to a target city to destroy it.

At least three submarines adapted to carry the massive torpedoes are already being tested in the Arctic, where Putin's regime is building an ominous military presence.

At least three submarines adapted to carry the massive torpedoes are already being tested in the Arctic, where Putin's regime is building an ominous military presence.

At least three submarines adapted to carry the massive torpedoes are already being tested in the Arctic, where Putin’s regime is building an ominous military presence.

However, according to TASS, Russia’s state-controlled news agency, the country’s military now says it will be armed with a much smaller two-megaton warhead – with 133 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it is still devastating, but, some experts say, probably not strong enough to cause a tsunami offshore.

While Russian claims about Poseidon are shifting all the time, Western defense chiefs admit they are deeply concerned about anything that could launch a nuclear strike without even being noticed by their missile defense systems.

Vice Admiral Nils Andreas Stensones, who has been fixated as head of Norwegian intelligence by Russian movements in the Arctic, ominously told CNN that Poseidon was “ targeting … and has an influence far beyond the region in which they currently operate it. to test’.

US government sources, saying they are ‘very closely’ following developments there, warn that Russia’s control of the Arctic would allow it to expand its power into the North Atlantic – and that would be a very alarming one. development for the UK.

Russia is reportedly planning to equip its Northern Fleet with 30 Poseidon torpedoes. No one is reassured by the country’s insistence that its Arctic designs are peaceful.

Putting its economic hopes in opening the region to shipping, it is already demanding that tankers passing through the area be given Russian permission and use Russian pilots.

Meanwhile, defense analysts say submarines are the only real tool where the Kremlin has any hope of leveling the playing field with a militarily superior US.

With no doubt that Poseidon exists, experts predict it will be used to “ scare ” the West and likely be used as a bargaining chip in gun control talks.

With Russia already testing the submarines that could carry Poseidon, and given Moscow’s dismal record of military accidents, environmentalists also fear serious nuclear contamination of the sea when they come to test the torpedo.

In Hollywood’s Clash Of The Titans, if not in actual Greek mythology, Poseidon, the god of the seas, unleashes the monstrous sea creature the Kraken to destroy the city of Argos by creating a massive tidal wave.

President Putin may be hoping his NATO opponents will remember the film as they respond to the new underwater threat.