Russia has an underwater nuclear drone that can carry a 100-megaton nuclear warhead, according to a newly leaked report.
A draft of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review noted that the weapon is part of Russia’s expanded nuclear arsenal.
“In addition to modernizing ‘legacy’ Soviet nuclear systems, Russia is developing and deploying new nuclear warheads and launchers. These efforts include multiple upgrades for every leg of the Russian nuclear triad of strategic bombers, sea-based missiles and land-based missiles,” officials wrote in the draft, published by the Huffington Post.
“Russia is also developing at least two new intercontinental range systems, a hypersonic glide vehicle and a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed undersea autonomous torpedo.”
A Defense Department spokesperson declined to comment until the final version of the report is released in February.
Russia has an underwater nuclear drone capable of carrying a 100-megaton warhead https://t.co/gBjY6Qej8z
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 15, 2018
But the draft is the first time the U.S. Defense Department acknowledged the capability of the underwater nuclear drone, according to Defense News.
The undersea drone has been tested at least once, in November 2016, reported the Washington Free Beacon, citing unnamed Pentagon sources.
The Beacon, citing Russian television, said that the drone has a range of 6,200 miles, a top speed around 56 knots, and the capability to dive to 3,280 feet below sea level.
In the Pentagon’s review, officials say the United States needs to develop similar weapons to expand its nuclear arsenal and “enhance deterrence by denying potential adversaries any mistaken confidence that limited nuclear employment can provide a useful advantage over the United States and its allies.”
Continuing, the officials said, “For example, Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage is based, in part, on Moscow’s perception that its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict. Correcting this mistaken Russian perception is a strategic imperative.”
— Daily Resist (@TheDailyResist) January 15, 2018
In 2016, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva noted at an event in Washington that the U.S. military needs smaller nuclear weapons that wouldn’t cause massive casualties, reported Defense One.
“If all you have is high-yield weapons to answer a low-yield attack, it’s still a nuclear attack. Answering that with a conventional weapon is likely not going to have the kind of deterrent value as saying, ‘Even if you use a low-yield weapon, we have options to respond,’” he said. “If the only options we have are to go with high-yield weapons that create a level of indiscriminate killing that the President can’t accept, then we haven’t presented him with an option with an option to respond to a nuclear attack in kind.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said in October that he wants the entire nuclear arsenal in perfect condition, reported ABC News.
“I want modernization and I want total rehabilitation,” he said in the Oval Office. “It’s got to be in tip-top shape.”
The leak of the draft comes just days after a government Hawaii employee caused terror after mistakenly pushing a button that led to a missile alert being sent to residents of the state.