Revealed: The Secrets Behind Russia's Crazy 100-Megaton Nuclear Torpedo

Steve Weintz

Key Point: It's coming soon.

On November 10, 2015, Russian media accidentally-on-purpose revealed a glimpse into the Kremlin's new underwater weapon—the "Kanyon" or Status-6 nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed drone. Since then the debate swirling around the device, such as whether it is real, its practicality, military use and history. This has produced a picture of a very old idea reborn into a new and dangerous age.

The Kanyon UUV (unmanned underwater vehicle) as described and illustrated is a very, very large torpedo almost eighty feet long and five feet in diameter. Fitted with a monstrous 100-megaton nuclear warhead and propelled by a nuclear power plant, Kanyon is designed to create radioactive tsunamis in ports and coastal areas.

Seaborne explosive platforms have a long history in warfare. "Fire ships," where vessels set aflame and set drifting into fleets at anchor, and have been used for centuries. In 1585 the Dutch rebels of Antwerp, besieged by Spanish troops hired Frederico Giambelli, a clever Italian engineer, to create the "hellburner"—a floating bomb set off by clockwork or slow-match. The results were spectacular, but not decisive, at Antwerp. However, the mere existence of such weapons caused the Spanish to panic at the sight of regular fire ships and ruined Spain's hopes for invading Britain.

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