Thursday, September 10, 2015

U.S. sees threat from Russia's new nuclear-armed unmanned submarine

Pentagon Code Names It ‘Kanyon’

Kalyan Kumar, International Business Times
10 September 2015

Posing a serious threat to the United States, Russia is reportedly building an unmanned drone submarine that can deploy large-scale nuclear weapons that can destroy harbours and coastal cities of its enemies.
According to Pentagon officials, the unmanned underwater vehicle will be capable of carrying megaton-class warheads and can blow up key ports in the U.S. where most of its nuclear missile submarines are docked, including Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound.
The ongoing development of drone submarine was confirmed in June by a Russian weapons expert, who told the RIA Novosti news agency that work on UUVs is underway, the Freebeacon reported.
“Our institute already concluded a number of new developments in the sphere of command systems automation… including remotely-operated, unmanned sea-based underwater vehicles. We hope that these developments will be applied for designing of a new destroyer vessel,” said Lev Klyachko, director of the Russian Central Research Institute.
Pentagon’s concerns
Taking the threat seriously, Pentagon has code-named the drone submarine project as “Kanyon.” When armed with a nuclear warhead, the drone sub can inflict massive damage and destroy big metro cities and large towns. The project is part of Russia’s new maritime strategy announced in July, aiming to induct new generation technologies such as unmanned underwater vehicles.
“The Kanyon represents another example of Russia’s aggressive and innovative approach to the development of military capabilities against U.S. and Western interests,” said Jack Caravelli, a former CIA analyst and a specialist in Soviet and Russian affairs.
The U.S. Navy has obvious concerns over the Russian drone sub though Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a Pentagon spokeswoman, refused to comment on it. However, in early September, Pentagon said it is keeping a close watch on the Russian military research ship that was spotted on the east coast of the United States. The vessel, Yantar, was engaged in underwater reconnaissance and it is suspected that it could be one of the support systems for the nuclear UUV.
Right now, the U.S. does not have plans to make a megaton-class underwater nuclear strike vehicle, though the Navy has been working on a range of UUVs, including weapons-carrying drones.
Submarine detection
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is seeking more funds to upgrade its ability to detect Russian submarines to counter the naval moves being made by President Vladimir Putin. The Navy wants an early deployment of a sophisticated surveillance system developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. in the Atlantic Ocean, which is already in use at Pacific Ocean.
“Long-term intelligence data and time-critical contact reports of submarines are vital in maintaining a clear operational picture, said Lieutenant Rob Myers, Navy spokesman, in an interview with the Bloomberg.
However, he declined to answer whether Russia will be the main target of increased Atlantic surveillance. By mid-2016, the U.S. Navy is planning to get a prototype networked “undersea sensor system” in the Atlantic to “address emergent real-world threats,” according to a Defense Department budget document.
These systems are expected to meet “an urgent requirement” of the U.S. combatant commanders responsible for Europe and homeland defense, according to the Navy’s budget document that sought $56.5 million (AU$80 million) to start the new projects.

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