On Saturday, a defense industry source told TASS News that the Russian Navy is preparing to deploy more than 30 Poseidon strategic nuclear-capable underwater drones on combat duty.
"Two Poseidon-carrying submarines are expected to enter service with the Northern Fleet and the other two will join the Pacific Fleet. Each of the submarines will carry a maximum of eight drones and, therefore, the total number of Poseidons on combat duty may reach 32 vehicles," the source said.
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.
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," TASS said in a Dec. report.
Last month, we documented how the Russian Navy started underwater trials of the drone, which a source told TASS that, "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 test, the source said.
The defense source also said the Poseidon drone is included in the state armament program from 2018 to 2027.
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 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.