Russian ‘special-purpose’ nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod that will be the first carrier of Poseidon strategic underwater drones, was floated out at the Sevmash Shipyard on Tuesday, Russia media reported.
The Poseidon drones are meant to evade underwater defences and strike strategic targets with nuclear or conventional warheads. They can travel much further than conventional torpedoes and at higher speeds and greater depths.
TASS reported quoting an industry source that the tests of the submarine’s nuclear reactor and its dockside trials are scheduled for this year. The Belgorod is expected to enter naval service in 2020.
The new submarine would be able to carry six strategic underwater drones called Poseidon, a top-secret weapon announced by President Putin last year without giving any details.
Built under the Project 09852, the exact operational characteristics of the special-purpose submarine have been classified. Russia’s Defense Ministry reported in November 2018 that the Belgorod sub’s crew had been formed.
The underwater drone later named Poseidon was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State-of-the-Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018.
The Russian leader said that Russia had already developed drones capable of moving at very large depths and to an intercontinental distance at a speed exceeding the speed of submarines by multiple times, the most advanced torpedoes and all types of surface ships. These drones can be armed with conventional or nuclear munitions.
The Belgorod submarine and Poseidon drones are meant to match US nuclear weapons delivery capability following the collapse of the treaty to limit nuclear arms between the two countries.