Putin’s Doomsday Machine
The very real and very scary details of the nuclear drone Russia wants to build — and how the U.S. needs to respondBy Jeffrey Lewis, Foreign Policy
November 12, 2015
On Nov. 9, President Vladimir Putin attended a meeting in Sochi on the state of the Russian defense industry. He gave a pretty boring speech about defeating U.S. missile defenses to some pretty bored-looking generals.
But there was one aspect of the event that was downright terrifying. Russian television cameras caught a page in a briefing book describing the development of a new nuclear weapons system called Status-6.
It’s nothing less than an underwater drone designed to carry a thermonuclear weapon into foreign ports. If detonated, Status-6 would be capable of dousing cities like New York in massive amounts of radioactive fallout.
At the risk of understating things, this project is bat-shit crazy. It harkens back to the most absurd moments of the Cold War, when nuclear strategists followed the logic of deterrence over the cliff and into the abyss. For his part, Putin seems positively nostalgic.
The Russian government reacted to the broadcast of the briefing-book images as if a major security breach had occurred. The offending footage was edited out of future broadcasts, and when asked about the incident, a Russian presidential spokesperson said: “Indeed, some secrets hit the camera lens, so were subsequently removed. We hope that in the future this will not happen again.”