In his State of the Nation speech today, Russian president Vladimir Putin showed computer animations and videos demonstrating three new classes of strategic weapons under development that are specifically intended to defeat the United States’ ballistic missile defenses. Among them were two weapons powered by miniaturized nuclear reactors: a drone submarine “torpedo” previously revealed in a Russian news leak and a cruise “missile” drone with what Putin described as a virtually unlimited range. The third was a new non-ballistic, hypersonic ICBM capable of evading US missile interceptors.
» Top New Products
Loading the page...
The weapons, Putin said, were a direct response to the US’s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and its continued development of ballistic missile defenses—which the Russian government has argued undermine the strategic deterrent value of Russia’s existing nuclear force. “No one has listened to us,” said Putin. “Listen to us now.”
A little something extra for the fallout
Putin claimed that the cruise missile’s miniaturized nuclear power plant had been successfully tested last fall and that, when built, the weapon would have a “practically unlimited” range. An animation showed a computer-generated image of the weapon flying close to the ground, following terrain contours, flying over mountains, and out to sea, avoiding seaborne air defense radars on its way to a virtual target. A similar animation showed nuclear-powered torpedoes launched from a submarine, traveling “intercontinental” distances, and striking a US aircraft carrier and exploding near a shore facility. This was the first official public announcement of both weapons.