Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has released the first footage of a prototype of Poseidon (Kanyon/Status-6) nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV).
The footage showed the nuclear UUV at a test facility with its propellers supposedly rotating along with actuation of its rudder. The propeller of the UUV was blurred in the publicly released footage. The video also included an animation of the weapon being launched from a submarine against an enemy carrier battle group.
Status-6 is the earlier Russian code name for the weapon and Kanyon is the name given by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Poseidon appears to be a deterrent weapon of last resort and the recent information suggest it having a top speed of 100 km/h (54 knots), a range of 10,000 km (5,400 nmi) and a maximum depth of 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
This underwater drone is cloaked by stealth technology to elude acoustic tracking devices and its size appears to be 1.6 metres in diameter, and 24 metres long.
The drone can deliver both conventional and nuclear payloads. According to Russian state TV, it may be able to deliver a thermonuclear cobalt bomb of up to 100 megatonnes against enemy’s naval ports and coastal cities.
The Poseidon weapon is designed to create a tsunami wave up to 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall, which would contaminate a wide area on an enemy’s coast with radioactive isotopes, as well as being immune to anti-missile defence systems such as anti-ballistic missiles, laser weapons and railguns that might disable an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
The weapon can be also employed against an enemy aircraft carrier battle group which would have reduced chances of defending itself against it. The drone could detonate its very large warhead at standoff range, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) units would have very little time to react because of the speed at which it travels.
Two potential carrier submarines, which would allegedly carry the Poseidon externally, the Project 09852 Oscar-class submarine Belgorod, and the Project 09851 Yasen-class submarine Khabarovsk, are new boats laid down in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Oscar-class submarines could carry four Poseidon torpedoes at the same time for the total yield of up to 400 megatonnes.