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Russia’s “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” for “Assured Unacceptable Damage”

During President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with military officials in Sochi, where the development of Russia’s military capabilities were being discussed, a number of TV crews were able to capture footage of a paper with drawings of a new nuclear submarine weapons system. The Kremlin has confirmed “some secret data” was accidentally leaked when Russian TV stations broadcast material apparently showing blueprints from a nuclear torpedo, designed to be used against enemy coastal installations.

According to the blurred information provided in presentation slide titled “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6”, the system represents a massive torpedo, designated as “self-propelled underwater vehicle,” with a range of up to 10 thousand kilometers and capable of operating at a depth of up to 1,000 meters.

The footnote to the slide stated that Status-6 is intended to cause “assured unacceptable damage” to an adversary force. Its detonation “in the area of the enemy coast” would result in “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that the region would not be used for “military, economic, business or other activity” for a “long time.”

According to the leaked paper, the weapons system could be developed by the Rubin design bureau for marine engineering, in St Petersburg. It would, apparently, be launched by nuclear-powered submarines of the 09852 “Belgorod” and 09851 “Khabarovsk” series. Rossiiskaya Gazeta called the torpedo a “robotic mini-submarine”, travelling at 100 knots (185km/h; 115mph), which would “avoid all acoustic tracking devices and other traps”.

Cobalt warhead?

According to state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the destructive power attributed to the new torpedo’s warhead would fit the description of a cobalt bomb. That would be a type of thermonuclear warhead with a layer of cobalt-59, which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years. Such a weapon would guarantee “that everything living will be killed”, the paper said – there would not even be any survivors in bunkers. A cobalt bomb has never been tested because of the devastating radiation it would unleash.

Russian military experts told BBC Russian Service:

“A warhead of up to 100 megatons could produce a tsunami up to 500m (1,650ft) high, wiping out all living things 1,500km (930 miles) deep inside US territory,” said Konstantin Sivkov, Russian Geopolitical Academy

“Robotic torpedo shown could have other purposes, such as delivering deep-sea equipment or installing surveillance devices. The Russian defence ministry has a special division for deep-sea research,” saidKonstantin Bogdanov, Lenta.ru website

“This is no secret for the US, whose military is also working in the area of robotic submersibles for hunting and destroying submarines,” said  Viktor Murakhovsky, reserve colonel, editor of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine

Torpedo threat to US Missile Defense System

Putin has stressed that Russia will counter NATO’s US-led missile shield program through new “strike systems capable of penetrating any missile shield. This new torpedo is also designed NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems.

US Ships already have a layered system of defenses for defeating missiles which includes sensors, radar and several interceptor technologies designed to intercept large, medium and small scale missiles from a variety of ranges. For example, most aircraft carriers are currently configured with Sea Sparrow interceptor missiles designed to destroy incoming air and surface threats and the Phalanx Close-in-Weapons System, or CIWS.

If long range and mid-range weapons fails to engage and destroy the incoming missile, close in weapons are employed. CIWS is a rapid-fire gun designed as an area weapon intended to protect ships from surface threats closer to the boat’s edge, such as fast-attack boats.
However, there is still lack of fully tested full-fledged torpedo defense system and doctrine on the lines of Missile Defense system

 

Torpedo defence

Through the years a number of defense against torpedo attack have been postulated including the following: Noisemakers, Mobile Decoys, Supercavitating pellets (e.g. 6.25 in supercavitating weapons) and anti-torpedo torpedoes.

 

US Navy Deploying New Anti-Torpedo Technology SSTD system

The US/UK Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) Joint Project is being fitted on a wide range of USN/RN platforms. The program involves development of new acoustic sensors and countermeasures to detect, track, and divert incoming torpedoes; providing torpedo defense against all threat torpedos for surface ships (combatant, amphibious and auxiliary). SSTD will be installed on aircraft carriers, surface combatants, and amphibious ships during routine maintenance periods.

The Surface Ship Torpedo Defense is a system of systems that includes two new sub-programs: the TWS (Threat Warning System) and CAT, the counter weapon system. The counter weapon portion is comprised of a hardkill subsystem for outer layer engagement and a seduction subsystem (softkill) for inner layer defense. SSTD is the first undersea warfare program to use a layered-attrition approach for the defense of surface ships.

 

Threat Warning System

TWS is being built as an early warning system to alert on and localize incoming threat torpedoes and consists of three major subsystems: – The Target Acquisition Group consists of a towed acoustic array, tow cable, winch, power supply, and signal processing equipment.
Data from the array and the ship’s radar system are processed into contact tracks and alerts to be forwarded to the Tactical Control Group. The array will be capable of both passive and active sonar operations.

The Tactical Control Group consists of duplicate consoles on the bridge and Combat Direction Center (on CVNs) that displays contacts, issues torpedo alerts to the crew, and automatically develops CAT placement presets using information sent from the Target Acquisition Group.
The operator will use this console to manage the threat engagement sequence and command CAT launches. – The Ready Stow Group will consist of the steel cradles housing the CATs.

 

Counter Weapon System of SSTD

CAT is a hard-kill countermeasure intended to neutralize threat torpedoes and consists of the following: – The Anti-torpedo Torpedo (ATT) is a 6.75-inch diameter interceptor designed for high-speed and maneuverability to support rapid engagement of the threat torpedo.
The All-Up Round Equipment consists of a nose sabot, ram plate, launch tube, muzzle cover, breech mechanism, and energetics to encapsulate and launch the ATT. The tactical CAT is powered by a SCEPS. The battery powered electric motor CAT is for test purposes only.

“However, the system has not been fully tested and the Navy conducted most TWS and CAT testing to date in areas with benign acoustic conditions when compared to the expected threat operating areas, which may have biased the results high. Additionally, most threat surrogates were not executing operationally realistic threat torpedo profiles due to safety constraints,” says US navy assessment.

 

Efficacy of SSTD against Nuclear Torpedo

Furthermore the efficacy of SSTD against long range nuclear torpedo is not known

Rossiiskaya Gazeta called the torpedo a “robotic mini-submarine”, travelling at 100 knots (185km/h; 115mph), which would “avoid all acoustic tracking devices and other traps”.

The underwater explosion (particularly one underneath a hull) can produce greater damage than an above-surface one of the same explosive size. Initial damage to a target will be caused by the first shockwave; this damage will be amplified by the subsequent physical movement of water and by the repeated secondary shockwaves or bubble pulse. Additionally, charge detonation away from the target can result in damage over a larger hull area

 

Threat of tsunami more than 1,000 feet high

Konstantin Sivkov of the Russian Geopolitical Academy told the BBC that this kind of weapon could be used to create a tsunami more than 1,000 feet high…
“A warhead of up to 100 megatons could produce a tsunami up to 500m (1,650ft) high, wiping out all living things 1,500km (930 miles) deep inside US territory”

 

Effects of 20 kiloton Baker Nuclear test

The Baker nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946 was a shallow underwater explosion, part of Operation Crossroads. A 20 kiloton warhead was detonated in a lagoon which was approximately 200 ft (61 m) deep. A mound of water and spray, called the spray dome, formed at the water’s surface which became more columnar as it rose. When the rising gas bubble broke the surface, it created a shock wave in the air as well.

Water filling the cavity formed by the bubble caused a hollow column of water, called the chimney or plume, to rise 6,000 ft (1,800 m) in the air and break through the top of the cloud. A series of surface waves moved outwards from the center. The first wave was about 94 ft (29 m) high at 1,000 ft (300 m) from the center. Other waves followed, and at further distances some of these were higher than the first wave.

 

Radioactive Threat of shallow nuclear explosion

The nuclear torpedo is also designed to cause heavy damage to “important economic facilities” along the enemy’s coastal regions. The underwater nuclear tests close to the surface can disperse radioactive water and steam over a large area, with severe effects on marine life, nearby infrastructures and humans.

MICHAEL wrote in Economic Collapse Blog, “A whopping 39 percent of all Americans live in counties that directly border a shoreline. The detonation of just a handful of these weapons could wipe out the entire east coast and kill off a very substantial percentage of the U.S. population.”

According to state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the destructive power attributed to the new torpedo’s warhead would fit the description of a cobalt bomb. That would be a type of thermonuclear warhead with a layer of cobalt-59, which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years.

Such a weapon would guarantee “that everything living will be killed”, the paper said – there would not even be any survivors in bunkers.

However, the detonation of nuclear weapons underwater was banned by the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and it is also prohibited under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996.

 

The article sources also include:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34797252

About Rajesh Uppal

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