A Russian state-run television station accidentally aired top secret plans of a new long-range nuclear torpedo called “Status-6” RT reports.
The incident occurred this week during a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with top military officers of the Russian Armed Forces in Sochi, located on the Black Sea in southwestern Russia. During the meeting, where the development of Russia’s military capabilities were being discussed, a TV crew from state-run Channel One filmed a Russian general studying a diagram of a new “oceanic multi-purpose Status-6 system.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the Russian media accidentally leaked classified data this Tuesday. “It is true some secret data got into the shot, and it was subsequently deleted. We hope that this won’t happen again,” he said.
According to the slide seen on television, the “oceanic multi-purpose Status-6 system” is designed to “destroy important economic installations of the enemy in coastal areas and cause guaranteed devastating damage to the country’s territory by creating wide areas of radioactive contamination, rendering them unusable for military, economic or other activity for a long time.”
The slide referred to the torpedo as “self-propelled underwater vehicle” with a range of “up to 10,000km” (6,200 miles) capable of operation in depths “up to 1,000m” (3,300 feet). According to Russian media reports cited by the BBC, the torpedo can travel at 100 knots (185km/h; 115mph) avoiding all “acoustic tracking devices and other traps.”
With a diameter of 1 meter, the “robotic mini-submarine” (or torpedo) would apparently be launched by either a Project 09852 sub – based on the 949A Oscar-class boat—or a Project 09851 submarine, laid down in December 2012 and July 2014 respectively and with unknown completion dates.
Once completed, both submarines will have the capability to carry smaller unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV): The Project 09852 sub will be able to carry up to six torpedoes, whereas a Project 09851 boat will be capable of fitting up to four UUVs.
Based on information on the slide, the new weapon could be equipped with a thermonuclear warhead with a layer of cobalt-59, “which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years,” the BBC reports. A prototype is slated to be built by 2019 with first tests occurring sometime around 2019-2020, according to the paper.
It appears that the “Status-6” torpedo/UUV is more or less the same weapon system that I have reported on back in September (See: “Is Russia Building a Top-Secret Nuclear Armed Underwater Drone?”). Codenamed “Kanyon” by Pentagon officials, it has allegedly also been designed to target both naval ports used by the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet as well as U.S. coastal regions.