Putin’s super sub sets sail for the first time: Russia launches largest submarine to be built in 30 years with enough firepower to take out an entire city and a fleet of mini-subs to cut undersea internet cables
A new Russian submarine packed with nuclear firepower and capable of taking out an aircraft carrier or even an entire city has sailed for the first time.
The 604ft Belgorod, the largest submarine to be built in the last 30 years, was put to sea for the first time yesterday as Russia flexed its naval muscles in the wake of an incident with British destroyer HMS Defender in the Black Sea.
Experts fear the 79ft-long torpedoes – dubbed Poseidon – could be detonated underwater to cause a radioactive tsunami and threaten coastal cities with waves up to 300ft high.
The enormous vessel is reportedly operated on behalf of the nation’s secretive Main Directorate of Undersea Research, and is understood to be central to Russia’s intelligence gathering operation.
But it is also believed to be equipped with up to six nuclear-armed torpedoes, each capable of carrying warheads with an explosive power of two megatons – equivalent to two million tons of TNT, or more than 130 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb.
The earliest pictures of the 604ft Belgorod, the largest submarine of its kind of the last 30 years, have emerged as it set sail for the first time yesterday
The ship is believed to be equipped with up to six nuclear-armed torpedoes, each capable of carrying warheads with an explosive power of two megatons – equivalent to two million tons of TNT, or more than 130 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb
The Belgorod is expected to operate in the Arctic and the North Atlantic – areas where Russian submarine activity has increased tenfold in recent years
In what is regarded as a sinister development, the submarine’s commanders will report directly to President Putin rather than to the country’s naval top brass, making Belgorod more like a deep-sea intelligence agency than a conventional submarine [File photo]
Dr Sidharth Kaushal, from the Royal United Services Institute, told The Mail on Sunday he believed the fleet of UUVs could be of strategic value for President Putin.
Dr Kaushal said: ‘The Belgorod is large enough to act as a mother ship for a unique set of smaller vessels which have deep-diving capabilities and the ability to tamper with undersea infrastructure.
‘It’s well equipped for sabotage and clandestine operations. Its Poseidon nuclear torpedoes could also be a very effective means of attacking an aircraft carrier in wartime – one against which at present no defence exists.
‘The Belgorod will not be part of the Russian Navy per se, meaning its covert and aggressive actions will effectively be deniable.
‘The submarine appears set up for non-attributable Special Forces warfare with its commanders answering directly to the [political] leadership and bypassing the Russian naval command structure.’
In sensational scenes, video shows the moment a British warship was fired upon by the Russian navy with repeated warnings on Wednesday.
In broken English, the crew of the UK warship were told: ‘Please attention, keep away from me.’
Russia has warned Britain and the United States it will defend its borders using ‘all possible means’ including military force. Pictured: The Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer in the Black Sea near Crimea as part of an exercise, in what Russia says is a violation of Russian territorial waters
In the video released by Putin’s regime, three shots each with two shells are seen fired as warning shots, by which time HMS Defender is visible but at a long distance away
HMS Defender’s crew are greeted as the ship safely docked in the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi earlier today
The drama took place on Wednesday as Russian jets and the border patrol vessels homed in on HMS Defender after she passed into the disputed waters.
HMS Defender has today docked in the Georgian Black Sea port of Batumi, as the ship’s commander, Vince Owen, said the British navy was committed to ‘providing reassurances and security in the region, and incredible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security’.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkob on Friday warned Britain and the US that Russia will defend its borders using ‘all possible means’ including military force and accused the two countries of trying to incite conflict in the Black Sea.
He was speaking a day after Moscow warned the UK it would bomb British naval ships in the Black Sea if what it called provocative actions by the British navy were repeated off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea.
Moscow claimed one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of HMS Defender on Wednesday to force her out of an area near Crimea, which Russia considers part of its territory despite it being an internationally recognised part of Ukraine.
But Britain denied that account and said its ship wasn’t fired upon and said she was sailing in Ukrainian waters.
The Belgorod is expected to operate in the Arctic and the North Atlantic – areas where Russian submarine activity has increased tenfold in recent years. There has also be a huge rise in Russian approaches to UK territorial waters.
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