Russia To Complete Infrastructure For Poseidon-Capable Nuclear Submarine Fleet By 2024

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - 06:00 PM

Russia's TASS news agency reported this week that, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, infrastructure development plans for updated Pacific fleet nuclear submarine operations are set to be completed in early 2024.  Pacific operations, once considered a long neglected element of Russia's navy, have been undergoing a revamp since 2015 under orders from the Kremlin.  The completion of base improvements coincides with the reported deployment of Russia's new Poseidon super torpedoes, which were also commissioned in 2015.

Though TASS is often accused of acting as a propaganda platform for the Russian government, developments on the Poseidon torpedo are confirmed by multiple sources including the US Department of Defense and Congress.

The first delivery of Poseidon torpedoes was officially announced in January of 2023, and dummy rounds were tested in the arctic around the same time period.  The weapons, which some sources refer to as “terrifying Apocalypse torpedoes” are 65ft long, though estimates greatly vary on the nuclear yield of the weapons.  Some experts argue the Poseidon could carry a 2 megaton warhead, others argue that it is capable of carrying up to a 100 megaton yield.  A 2 megaton warhead would be 100 times the explosive power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII.


But what makes the Poseidon more dangerous than the average nuke?  Data on the device is limited, but the torpedoes are suspected to be a mixture of missile and drone technology.  They carry a nuclear powered propulsion engine and can travel 80 miles per hour underwater (making countermeasures difficult).  To give a sense of the speed, the average US nuclear submarine travels around 30 miles per hour (complete details are top secret), and the average US sub torpedo travels at around 57 miles per hour.  In other words, catching and killing a Poseidon torpedo would be almost impossible.  

The Poseidon system functions essentially as a fast roaming autonomous underwater nuke which can stalk an enemy coast for long distances until it is ordered to strike a particular target.


The Poseidon is not considered a first-strike weapon because of its design, but is instead meant to act as a post-attack trump card.  Meaning, even if a large number of Russian nuclear launch facilities were destroyed in a first strike, and even if Russian subs were countered, Russia would still have the Poseidon torpedoes traveling under the oceans waiting to hit targets in an evolving battle-space, acting independently of their submarine fleet.  By extension, if US or European defenses improved to intercept standard ICBMs, the Poseidon would still be able to deliver nuclear payloads to coastal targets.  

That said, there is first strike potential for the weapons given their speed and the relative difficulty of defense against them.  They can be used, not as a direct strike system, but as an indirect system by exploding just off the coast of a target city, creating a 500 foot radioactive tidal wave.  They can also be used as a cavitation weapon that wipes out entire carrier battle-groups.    

US Defense Department estimates suggest that Russia is constructing or refitting at least four nuclear subs to carry the large torpedoes, and that at least 30 Poseidons are being built.  The latest news of the coming completion of infrastructure for Pacific bases suggests these preparations are almost finished.  

With the war in Ukraine continuing unabated and the country acting as a veritable proxy for NATO, the question of nuclear conflict between the West and Russia has been entertained often.  While it's unlikely that a nuclear exchange would benefit either side in any measurable way, the potential is ever present.  With Belarus apparently ready to establish Russian tactical nuke sites within their borders this year and Vladimir Zelensky admitting this week that Ukraine is “out of ammo”, one has to wonder how the conflict will escalate in the coming months.