In prime time, Putin’s chief strategist, Dmitry Kiselyov, talks about “wiping Britain off the map” with a giant nuclear torpedo. What is the truth about the danger called “Poseidon”?
“We could also sink Britain to the bottom of the sea with the Russian unmanned underwater vehicle ‘Poseidon’,” Dmitry Kiselyov told Russia’s state broadcaster ‘Rossiya1’ on Sunday evening, as if predicting weather. “The explosion of this thermonuclear torpedo off the coast of Britain would trigger a 500 meter high radioactive tsunami wave across the British Isles.” A computer animation spins next to Kiselev, showing what the destruction of Britain might look like.
Kiselyov’s contribution is just the latest nuclear threat heard on Russian state media since the invasion of Ukraine. On a recent talk show, participants spoke openly about the possibility of a global nuclear war that Russia might not win, but which would at least result in martyrs among Russians, according to one participant. In a television interview, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the West of a nuclear escalation, and Kiselyov himself had previously threatened the British with a Sarmat-2 nuclear missile. But could the Kremlin live up to the threat of a nuclear tsunami?
In this clip shared on Twitter, Kiselyov’s comments are captioned in English:
West probably wouldn’t even notice the beginning of “Poseidon.”
In any case, “Poseidon” is not an invention of Putin’s chief propagandist, Kiselyov. The approximately 20-24 meter long unmanned vehicle was first known to the public in 2015. According to Russian reports, the nuclear-powered underwater drone can dive up to 1,000 meters deep and travel several thousand kilometers – making the weapon virtually uninterceptable. “Poseidon” could be launched like a torpedo and travel a programmed route at high speed before its warhead exploded.
You can see how the underwater weapon works here in the video.
According to Russian information, “Poseidon” can be equipped with nuclear warheads with an explosive power of up to 100 megatons of TNT – this would be twice as much as the “Vanya” hydrogen bomb detonated by Russia in 1961, the largest explosive device ever created. exploded. For comparison: the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945 had a yield of 13 kilotons of TNT, so the explosion of a “Poseidon” warhead would be about 7,700 times more powerful. Since “Poseidon” does not produce a launch flash like, say, an ICBM, the Western military might not even register its launch.
This Russian photo from 2018 should show “Poseidon” during a test drive: the unmanned vehicle should be able to travel thousands of kilometers autonomously. (Source: imago images)
“It will take new weapons to intercept them”
“Poseidon” won’t be operational until the mid-1920s at the earliest, writes military expert Jill Hruby, referring to necessary modifications to Russian submarines and ongoing tests with the torpedo’s nuclear propulsion system. Naval expert HI Sutton also considers the claim of 100 megatons of explosive force to be much exaggerated, more realistic are the more realistic estimates of around two megatons of explosive force. Of course, that wouldn’t be enough to generate a 500 meter high tsunami.
Nevertheless, NATO must include ‘Poseidon’ in its strategic considerations, according to Sutton: ”Poseidon’ is a new type of weapon which threatens entire coastal towns and also Britain as a whole. He will also need new types of weapons to intercept them.”