According to several foreign publications, Russia is creating a new special weapon for the naval fleet. The new project will lead to the emergence of a special autonomous underwater vehicle with a nuclear warhead of high power. The topic of a hypothetical Russian project in recent days has been touched upon by many foreign publications, but the most complete and detailed article appeared in The Washington Free Beacon. On September 8, the publication published an article by Bill Gertz of the Russia Building Nuclear-Armed Drone Submarine ("Russia is building an unmanned nuclear submarine"). The author of this publication tried to collect all available data about the project and draw some conclusions.
B. Hertz begins his article directly and clearly: according to the available data, Russia is developing a promising underwater vehicle capable of delivering powerful nuclear warheads to the shores of the United States. The existence of this project has become known from unnamed sources in the Pentagon.
Apparatus "Canyon" in the artist's view. Figure Freebeacon.com
Sources note that unmanned underwater vehicles currently being developed will become carriers of megaton-class nuclear warheads. Such devices can be used to destroy the main ports of American submarine forces, such as Kings Bey (pc. Georgia) or Puget Sound (pc. Washington).
American experts do not yet have detailed information about the new Russian project. Nevertheless, the country's leadership already knows about its existence. In addition, the Pentagon believes that the new project really exists, in connection with which he was given the code mark Kanyon ("Canyon").
B. Gertz believes that the emergence of the Canyon project is yet another proof of the “aggressive modernization of the underwater component of nuclear forces,” conducted by the Russian leadership led by President Vladimir Putin. It is noteworthy that, against the background of the development of Russian strategic nuclear forces, the administration of US President Barack Obama is implementing other plans. At present, the American leadership believes that the role of nuclear weapons should be reduced. weapons in the security of the state.
The unnamed sources of The Washington Free Beacon, familiar with the available information about the new Russian project, spoke about some of its main features. According to their data, the Kanyon project involves the construction of autonomous unmanned submarines carrying a nuclear warhead. The power of the latter is estimated at several tens of megatons. Such combat equipment will allow the submarine to cause enormous damage to the enemy, destroying or damaging objects over a large area.
Missiles and bombs with nuclear warheads of the megaton class in the United States have the unofficial name of City busters ("Destroyers of cities"). The power of such weapons allows you to destroy large areas of cities or underground objects. Nuclear warheads of similar capacity, mounted on unmanned underwater vehicles, can be used to destroy ports and other facilities on the coast.
According to one of the sources of B. Gertz, who wished to remain anonymous, the new Russian underwater vehicle will be able to travel long distances at high speed. At the same time, however, this official noted that the Canyon project would not be a danger to the United States until a certain time. The fact is that it will take years to complete the development of the project and test the prototypes of the new underwater vehicle.
The author of the article Russia Building Nuclear-Armed Drone Submarine notes that the Kanyon project is becoming part of the Russian strategic plan for the modernization of nuclear forces. In recent years, official Moscow has taken measures aimed at modernizing this part of the armed forces, which, in particular, will make it possible to maintain an instrument of political pressure on Washington. In addition, American experts believe that Russia will continue to oppose the implementation of certain US proposals. The B. Obama administration intends to pursue further reduction of nuclear forces even after the fulfillment of the conditions of the START III treaty.
Fulfillment of plans to further reduce armaments proved impossible after the "annexation" of the Crimea and the start of the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as, according to B. Gertz, due to Moscow’s refusal to comply with the terms of the treaty on medium and short-range missiles. One of the sources of The Washington Free Beacon, a journalist who is directly related to the government, notes that it is difficult to see Russia as a responsible partner when she performs such actions.
Previously reported changes in the Russian Maritime Doctrine. In connection with the changing situation in the world, the leadership of Russia decided to revise certain provisions of this document, in accordance with which the fleet, infrastructure, etc. will be developed in the future. Among other things, provisions on the development of new equipment, including unmanned underwater systems, appeared in the Doctrine.
The first information about the Kanyon project became a cause for concern among the leadership of the Pentagon in general and the command of the naval forces in particular. The emergence of such weapons systems will force the US Navy to rework some of the nuances of its strategy. In particular, the priority of anti-submarine defense will increase. Nevertheless, while the press service of the military department refuses to comment on rumors about a new Russian development.
Not so long ago, the US military said that the Russian research vessel Yantar was spotted off the east coast of the United States. While the ship was near US territorial waters, its actions were monitored. B. Hertz notes that research vessels, such as Yantar, can be used for various purposes, including for conducting reconnaissance in the interests of the submarine forces of the Russian Navy. Their task may be to collect information about various water areas, which can later be used in the operation of unmanned underwater vehicles.
It is noted that at present both the United States and Russia are engaged in the development of their military fleets, as well as developing new unmanned systems. At the same time, however, the US defense industry is not yet engaged in the creation of submarine systems with combat blocks of the megaton class. Moreover, the US military is gradually abandoning weapons of this class. For example, the B53 anti-bunker bombs with a 9 megaton capacity were removed from service several years ago. The 83 megatons B1,2 products are gradually being decommissioned due to the new B61 bomb modification.
B. Hertz recalls Soviet and Russian successes in the construction of warheads of the megaton class. Thus, the SS-18 missiles with 20-megaton warheads and 5-megaton warheads for SS-19 missiles are in service. In addition, the author recalls that the most powerful in stories the bomb was built exactly in the USSR - the product with the provisional name "Tsar-Bomb" had a power at the level of 150 megatons. It should be noted that The Washington Free Beacon journalist made a serious mistake: the actual power of the Tsar Bomb was 58 megatons.
Assessing the fighting qualities of hypothetical Russian weapons, B. Gertz resorts to the opinion of experts. For example, Jack Caravelli, a former CIA analyst and specialist in the Soviet / Russian sector, believes that the Canyon project is another example of Moscow’s “aggressive and innovative” approach to the development of military capabilities directed against the United States and Western countries.
The power of the warhead at the level of several megatons, according to Caravelli, is a means of causing catastrophic damage to the enemy by destroying coastal cities and facilities of the United States or Europe. Moreover, the analyst believes that the Kanyon project may be evidence that Russian President V.Putin is preparing for an armed confrontation with the West.
Former US military officer Mark Schneider recalls that back in 2014, Russia announced the launch of a new program to modernize nuclear forces. Details of these plans were supposed to be published in the near future. In June, 2015, representatives of the Russian defense industry told about the completion of the development of some projects of unmanned underwater technology.
While some American experts express concern, others are in no hurry to panic and pour accusations. For example, the former head of the US Strategic Command, Robert Koehler, believes that the Canyon project may be a cause for alarm, but so far remains calm. Köhler notes that he is not worried about the modernization of Russian nuclear forces. Russia and the United States continue to comply with the terms of the START-III agreement, which is why you can not worry. In this case, the former commander does not have any information about the Kanyon project.
Despite the absence of any confirmed data on the new project, some experts are already making their assumptions about the appearance of promising weapons. For example, naval analyst Norman Polmar believes that the basis of the Canyon project may be based on older Soviet designs. The Soviet and Russian navy has traditionally been an innovator in the field of armaments, including torpedoes. It is known that soon after the development of nuclear technologies, Soviet specialists began to develop a special torpedo designed to attack the coast of the enemy.
The project, known as the T-15, meant the creation of a large torpedo with a high-powered nuclear warhead. A torpedo with a length of 75 feet (more than 22 m) with a thermonuclear warhead was proposed to be used to destroy targets located on the coast of the United States.
General view of one of the most promising underwater vehicles of American development. Figure Freebeacon.com
In recent years, the naval forces of different states are engaged in the creation of new underwater unmanned systems, although the details of the projects of some countries remain unknown. In the middle of the last decade a study was published, the authors of which identified nine tactical niches for such equipment. Unmanned underwater systems can be used in various fields, from intelligence to delivery of combat units.
According to B. Gertz, the new project “Canyon” is a part of the current program of modernization of strategic nuclear forces and the navy of Russia. In parallel with the creation of an underwater unmanned vehicle, the Borey project submarines and the Bulava missiles are being built for them. In addition, Russian industry is creating two new ground-based ballistic missiles and continues to develop three earlier projects. For the development of the nuclear component of the Air Force, it is planned to resume construction of Tu-160 bombers and create a new aircraft of a similar class. A new air-based cruise missile is also being created.
A peculiar response to a hypothetical Russian project could be the new developments of the United States. In April of this year, the Minister of the Navy, Ray Meibus, said that unmanned systems are one of the priorities in the development of the fleet. The Minister noted that the unmanned technologies themselves are not something new and unusual. Nevertheless, they have great potential and are of great interest to the military. For this reason, a large number of projects of unmanned vehicles, including underwater vehicles, should appear in the future. It is assumed that they will become an integral part of the fleet.
As you can see, the American press is once again expressing concern about the new Russian military equipment projects. At the same time, the Kanyon project, which became the reason for the publication of the Russia Building Nuclear-Armed Drone Submarine, now raises a lot of questions, primarily because its existence has not yet been confirmed.
Nevertheless, foreign journalists and analysts are already trying to form an opinion about a new unusual weapon and to predict the features of its use. Naturally, the lack of information affects such analytics, because of which most of it is an attempt to guess certain features of the new project.
It should be borne in mind that a small amount of information is not a reason to ignore the new foreign development. Taking into account fragmentary information about the hypothetical project “Canyon”, the Pentagon acts quite reasonably, since ignoring such news can have serious consequences for defense capability. However, one should not forget that the available information about the new Russian project of an unmanned underwater vehicle with a nuclear warhead may not be true.
The Russian military has not responded to publications in the foreign press. The creation of a special carrier of high-powered nuclear weapons is not confirmed or refuted. Thus, the true essence of the current discussions will open only after some time. Only official information about new developments will help to find out whether the news in the American press is based on real events, or whether the journalists "pecked" on the rumors that are growing on the basis of an imaginary Russian threat.
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