The Russian Navy has started underwater trials of the Poseidon nuclear-capable unmanned underwater vehicle developed by the Russian Federation that can deliver conventional and nuclear warheads, reported TASS News Agency.
President Vladimir Putin first unveiled the strategic drone propelled by a miniaturized nuclear reactor at his state-of-the-nation address to both houses of the Russian parliament back in March.
"In his state-of-the-nation address to both houses of Russia’s parliament on March 1, Russian President Putin mentioned for the first time the country’s efforts to develop a nuclear-powered unmanned underwater vehicle that can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and is capable of destroying enemy infrastructural facilities, aircraft carrier groups and other targets," said TASS.
A source in the domestic defense industry told TASS Tuesday, "in the sea area protected from a potential enemy’s reconnaissance means, the underwater trials of the nuclear propulsion unit of the Poseidon drone are underway."
For the trial, the Russian Navy is using one of its nuclear-powered submarines as the drone’s carrier during the trial, the source said.
According to the defense source, the Poseidon drone is included in the state armament program from 2018 to 2027. The drone is expected to be delivered to the Navy by 2027, the source added.
Poseidon, previously known by the Russian codename Status-6, is designed to create a tsunami wave up to 1,600 ft. tall and wipe out enemy vessels and marine bases, which would then contaminate the area with radioactive isotopes.
Two carrier submarines, the Project 09852 Oscar-class submarine Belgorod, and the Project 09851 Khabarovsk submarine are expected to carry the Poseidon on its external shell.
Poseidon is a weapon of last resort. It will also function as a deterrent against Western forces. The drone can travel at speeds of up to 60 to 185 mph, with a range of 6,200 miles and a maximum depth of 3,300 ft. The drone is cloaked by stealth technology to elude acoustic tracking devices. Its size has been estimated at 5 ft. wide and 78 ft. long.
The source told TASS the drone is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with a yield of up to 2 megatonnes, enough to destroy a Western naval base and or an entire aircraft carrier battle group.