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Status-6: Russia's new intercontinental nuclear armed & powered autonomous torpedo

Practically invulnerable underwater combat robots with intercontinental range have been created for the Russian Navy to operate in oceans and at adversary coast. They can be engaged both against warships and strategic coastal facilities. A unique compact nuclear power plant has been created for them and special submarine carriers are being constructed. The vehicle is called Status-6. President Vladimir Putin presented its capabilities to parliament. Experts believe the underwater vehicles are a major deterrence and retaliatory weapon, the Izvestia daily writes.

STATUS 6 Kanyon nuclear torpedo drone UUV RussiaThe Status-6 (NATO: KANYON) intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo

"Russia designed unmanned underwater vehicles capable of moving at major depths, I would say very deeply, and to intercontinental distances with a speed exceeding that of submarines, latest torpedoes and all types of high-speed warships several times," Putin said.

The vehicles have low noise, high maneuverability and are practically invulnerable. They can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads to destroy a wide range of targets, including aircraft carriers, coastal fortifications and infrastructure.

The unique innovative nuclear power plant is the trump card of the weapon. Its trials were completed in December 2017. In size it is 100 times smaller than the reactors of modern submarines but still has "super high power". "The results of the trials made it possible to begin creating a completely new strategic weapon armed with nuclear high-yield charges," Putin said.

Russian MoD video showing Rubin's Klavesin-2R-PM UUV (first) and the nuclear-armed Kanyon/Status-6 long range torpedo/drone

Status-6 is a self-propelled underwater craft to be carried by two submarines under construction - the Khabarovsk and the Belgorod. Open sources said each submarine will carry three-ten underwater craft. They resemble a big 20-meter long torpedo with a diameter of close to 1.5 meters. The range is up to 10 thousand kilometers. The craft has several compartments. It is likely a universal platform which can carry various modules depending on the mission. They can be nuclear or conventional charges, radio-electronic warfare or reconnaissance means.

Status-6 can engage in various missions ranging from destruction of important economic facilities on the coast up to the fight with aircraft-carrying forces. There are no weapons in the world at present which can counter the craft operating at major depths and at high speed.

Expert Dmitry Boltenkov said the low-noise and high-speed underwater robots are ideal warship hunters. "It is the dream of any admiral as the craft can covertly approach a formation of warships and destroy it by one nuclear charge. It turns heavy aircraft carriers into helpless targets," he said.

Boltenkov believes Status-6 is an excellent deterrence. "The presence in our navy of such autonomous underwater craft with a major range makes a retaliatory nuclear strike at coastal areas inevitable. The prospects to sustain unacceptable damage will calm down the hotheads," he said.

In Cold War time the Soviet Union considered the idea of the so-called Sakharov torpedo to carry a mighty thermonuclear charge. In case of war it had to be engaged at the US coast and trigger super powerful tsunami. However the project was abandoned because of technical difficulties, the Izvestia writes.

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