Putin Announces Russia Has “Invincible” Nuclear Underwater Drone, Can Strike U.S.
Last week Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin used the Russian state of the nation address to announce that Russia has developed a nuclear underwater drone and nuclear missiles that can reach the U.S. and are invincible to enemies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s boastful remarks of his country’s advanced nuclear arsenal have sparked concern from the U.S. and countries throughout Europe. Putin declared that Russia had developed a nuclear-powered cruise missile and a nuclear underwater drone both capable of going undetected and striking the U.S. mainland. Conventional cruise missiles typically can travel around 600 miles.
Putin made his remarks during the annual Russian state of the nation address last Thursday. The address opened with a video depicting Russian missiles evading anti-missile technology and circumnavigating the globe to strike the continental U.S. Putin also claimed Russia tested the missiles in 2017.
Putin’s boasts of a nuclear underwater drone brought responses of disapproval from NATO, U.S. President Donald Trump and his German counterpart Angela Merkel.
The US Secretary of State spokesperson Heather Nauert dubbed the Russian presentation “irresponsible”. She told reporters, “Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for more than a decade in direct violation of its treaty obligations.”
In 2014, the U.S. declared Russia to be in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and re-iterated the sentiment with an announcement in December of 2017.
As DW reported, The U.S. Department of Defense attempted to play down the Russian threat, saying that the Pentagon was “not surprised by (Putin’s) statement, and the American people should rest assured that we are fully prepared.”
In Germany, DW reported that government spokesman Steffen Siebert summed up a phone call between Merkel and Trump with the remarks: “The chancellor and the president are […] concerned about Russian President Putin’s latest remarks about arms developments and their negative impact on international arms control efforts.”
Russia maintains the new underwater nuclear drone and nuclear missiles are to secure global peace and not to attack.
The Kremlin denied European and U.S. claims that the newly-developed nuclear weapons is intended for aggressive purposes. The Russian government also rebutted any accusation that it is in breach of arms control treaties.
How powerful is Putin’s new nuclear underwater drone and intercontinental missiles?
With the election only 17 days, Putin clearly intended his state of the nation address to impress his domestic audience and instill confidence in his leadership.
“A low-flying, low-visibility cruise missile armed with a nuclear warhead and possessing a practically unlimited range, unpredictable flight path and the capability to impregnate practically all interception lines is invulnerable to all existing and future anti-missile and air defense weapons,” Putin said, as quoted by NPR.
Experts awed by Russian technology.
Despite the attempt by the U.S. to downplay Russia’s technology, some experts were stunned and aghast. NPR reported that Edward Geist, a researcher specializing in Russia at the Rand Corp. said “I’m still kind of in shock” and “My guess is they’re not bluffing, that they’ve flight-tested this thing. But that’s incredible.”
While Russia announced an array of new weapons in addition to the nuclear underwater drone and ‘hypersonic’ missiles, James Acton, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told NPR Russia could already decimate the U.S.
“Russia, even without these weapons, has the capability to reduce the U.S. into a pile of radioactive soot,” Acton says.
Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, told the Washington Post that Russia’s current weapons would have “no problem whatsoever” overcoming U.S. missile defenses with its existing weapons. The new weapons don’t change global strategy according to Reif.
The Arms Control Association estimates that Russia has 7,000 nuclear warheads compared to 6,800 for the U.S. Coming in a distant third is France with 300.
Is 2018 the new 1980?
With tensions rising between the two global superpowers, the U.S. and Russia, and with both countries lead by strongman personalities, 2018 is sounding a lot like the 1980’s.