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Russia is developing next-generation nuclear-armed torpedoes, Pentagon finds

Vladimir Putin (YouTube)
February 21, 2018

A recently released Nuclear Posture Review published by the U.S. Defense Department outlined some of Russia’s new military weapons currently in development, including revolutionary undersea nuclear-armed torpedoes that have officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency on edge.

Particularly, Russia’s new intercontinental nuclear armed undersea torpedo, which was outlined in the report and made public for the first time, has alarmed many top U.S. officials.

Known as the “Status-6” system, the program is fired underwater and can potentially travel thousands of miles before striking U.S. coastal targets such as military bases or major cities.

Adam Mount, Director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, also expressed his concerns.

“The concept is a horror of the Cold War,” he stated. “It is clearly inspired by overblown Russian worries that U.S. missile defenses will make their missile forces obsolete.”

While the new nuclear weaponry was outlined in the Nuclear Posture Report, it has yet to be mentioned in any other government documents at this point.

“There is no indication from public information that Russia is actively developing the system, but it is alarming to see it in a Pentagon Document,” Mount said.

The report says that “Russia considers the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to be the principal threats to its contemporary geopolitical ambitions.” Such a threat apparently needs to be combated with Russia’s continued efforts to develop “non-strategic” nuclear weapons.

“The Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] currently estimates Russia has a stockpile of 2,000 ‘non-strategic’ nuclear weapons including short-range ballistic missiles, gravity bombs and depth charges that can go on medium range bomber aircraft,” the report stated.

“DIA also estimates Russia has nuclear armed anti-ship, anti-submarine missiles and torpedoes. What do they need nuclear depth charges for,” a U.S. official asked.

In a written statement on Friday, President Donald Trump was quick to highlight the importance of the Defense Department’s report, which explained how the Defense Department has focused much of its efforts on updating nuclear deterrence focused on Russia.

“Over the past decade, despite United States’ efforts to reduce the roles and numbers of nuclear weapons, other nuclear nations grew their stockpiles, increased the prominence of nuclear weapons in their security strategies, and – in some cases – pursued the development of new nuclear capabilities to threaten other nations,” Trump said.

“The strategy develops capabilities aimed at making use of nuclear weapons less likely. It enhances deterrence of strategic attacks against our nation, and our allies and partners, that may not come in the form of nuclear weapons. And, importantly, it reaffirms our commitment to arms control and nuclear non-proliferation, maintains the moratorium on nuclear testing, and commits to improving efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to nuclear terrorism,” he added.

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan echoed the President’s desire to continue nuclear deterrence efforts, stating that the Pentagon “reaffirms that the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear policy is deterrence and continues our clear commitment to nonproliferation and arms control.”