This Russian nuclear missile

Secret plans for a Russian long-range nuclear torpedo came to light after a state television cameraman filmed over a senior officer’s shoulder with a diagram on show.
The scheme involves the use of massive doses of radiation to render large areas of enemy coastlines uninhabitable and appeared on TV during a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Umm, yeah.

Status 6 itself appears to be a gigantic torpedo-shaped robotic mini-submarine – in other words an underwater drone – that can travel at speeds of 100 knots (115mph) and is so perfectly cloaked by stealth technology it would be invisible to acoustic tracking devices.
The notes on the torpedo diagram give it a range of up to 6,200 miles (10,000km), and a dive depth of 3,300 feet (1,000m) – far beyond that of most manned submarines.

Amazing, eh? And carrying a dirty bomb (Co-60 or some such nicely dangerous contaminant perhaps).

That has prompted some analysts to suggest that the “accidental” leak was actually intended to signal that Russia has the means and intention to respond “asymetically” by creating devices the new American defences will not stop.

No, that’s not the way I would analyse it at all. Rather, how cheap would it be to print up some nonsense and then accidentally reveal it? Bloody sight cheaper than actually having to work out how to build a deterrent, isn’t it?

And as with the point made yesterday, if the FSB does want to leak me the plans just to keep the maskirovka going then I do know where the ziggurat is in Vauxhall. Would be able to drop it off after a few months persuasion by the comfy redhead mentioned…..

19 thoughts on “This Russian nuclear missile”

  1. I agree, this is probably just a poster designed to fool gullible and clueless journalists. A torpedo with a range of 10,000km through water will need quite some fuel payload, meaning this thing won’t be small. And if it’s big, it will make noise if it’s doing 115mph. “Perfectly cloaked by stealth technology” my arse.

  2. I like “asymetically”, complete with inverted commas, a word whose meaning is also perfectly cloaked in stealth technology.

    ‘Asymmetrically’ perhaps?

  3. The Soviets have had rocket propelled*, nuclear armed torpedoes for ages. However, they haven’t anything like that range and they are very very noisy. They are just supposed to arrive at your location before you’ve had enough time to do anything effective about them.

    As Tim said, anything doing 100 knots underwater is going to make a racket – even stuff that is damn quiet at lower speeds.

    Dive depth below submarines? Trivial for something smaller than a normal sub.

    * They actually have two rockets. A big one at the back and a smaller one at the front to push the water out of the way.

  4. “I’m more worried about the giant atomic robots Japan is building.”

    Not to mention those 150 feet tall mutant bastard dinosaurs…

  5. Quick calculation… diameter for the system carried underslung looks like maybe a metre, assume it’s an end-on cylinder for drag purposes, and it needs about two megawatts of propulsive power (call it twenty-four hundred horsepower).

    Not sure how you push yourself along that hard (remember that’s the power it needs, so any inefficiency or masking is extra) in undetectable silence; and to get the stated range it would need about 140 tons of OTTO monopropellant for fuel, or a cube a bit over four metres on a side – or, for the diameter shown, the fuel tank would have to be 150 metres long (longer than the submarine carrying it).

    I might point out that I started out my career working on UK torpedoes in the 1980s, and there were frequent scare stories about Soviet technology back then as well (their submarines able to do fifty knots, silently, at a thousand metres’ depth, with their titanium hulls making them unsinkable…) most of which were made out of handwavium. My guess would be this is the same… the Russians have had long range torpedoes for some time, but the stated figures are implausible. (If nothing else, a 50-hour running time makes accuracy problematic… even with nuclear weapons, you can’t miss by too many miles)

  6. It’s a fantasy I’d imagine – rather like the American Star Wars stuff that may have played a useful role in frightening the USSR towards a bit of sanity.

    But I’m not sure that it’s axiomatic that you can’t run a high speed sub quietly. I have no expertise in this, but I’d guess that the secret would be to run it without any cavitation. Is that possible? I dare say it means that you can’t use conventional propellers, but that’s surely OK? Anyone here know about this stuff?

  7. Dearime,

    Cavitation is the least of it – by the time you’re cavitating, you’re practically audible from low earth orbit.

    The main detectables below cavitation onset speed, are flow noise (broadband, caused by your pushing through the water) and specific tonal frequencies: propulsor frequencies, gearbox noise, generators and the like. If you’re using a thermal power plant (a gas turbine running OTTO or H202/kerosene, for instance) you’ve also got exhaust gases to get rid of as quietly as possible. Nuclear reactors are problematic in this regard because at high power they need a lot of water pumped around and lots of steam expanded and condensed – nuke plants can be quiet, or fast, but not both.

    Broadband is easier to detect on analogue sets or human ear, and also integrates well over time; narrowband (giving the tonals) yields best to computer processing: which was why submarines and subhunters gained so much processing power (those fast Fourier transforms don’t run themselves…)

    Many of the best tonals to detect are low frequency (50/60 Hz for generator sets, for instance) hence why sonar sets have got so large – to give usable bearing accuracy against such low frequencies.

    Open source, the fastest submarine was the USSR’s Papa-class (K-162) was apparently able to make nearly 45 knots, but was unbelievably noisy while doing so.

  8. My first thought on seeing the report on the BBC website was “Blimey! April 1st has come round a bit quick!”. Looks like I was probably correct. 🙂

  9. Wasn’t there a documentary about such a silent sub called “red October”….?

    Which, on its caterpillar drive, went very slowly. Past the Dallas but not away from it (thanks to PO Jones and his not listening to rock music.)

    those fast Fourier transforms don’t run themselves…

    The 1990s stuff used mostly Ferranti FMT1600s or a visually identical successor model, iirc. These were hardware optimised to run FFTs. A similar model was used on the 968 / 968M pulse doppler radars which were part of the Sea Wolf missile system.

  10. Not just Army, it’s tri-service. Incredibly hard to get, though – that Highway Code test must date back to the 1970s.

    Strange how if you got your licence before 1989, you’re in great demand since you’re legally able to drive a sixteen-seat minibus by default rather than needing additional training and testing…

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    The other question is who would give a f*ck? I mean, super fast torpedo? Great. But suppose it could spread a tonne of radioactive waste along the coast of the US. Who would even notice? The ocean is large. It would be diluted fairly quickly. Also if it is 3,300 feet down, the waste might never come up.

  12. To veer even more horribly off topic – you just needed a provisional licence before 1989.

    At least, I’ve got the minibus tick and I didn’t pass my driving test until I got back from Granby.

  13. SMFS,

    The problem is that radioactivity is detectable in almost homeopathic concentrations. And you can usually identify the isotopes involved. And trace that to the attack.

    When we consider the German panic about their nuclear powers stations not being designed to survive tsunami, do you really expect ‘the public’ to react with due respect for the actual level of risk? The Japanese didn’t either.

    And Greenpeace and its fellow travellers will be feeding blatant lie after horror story through their willing Propaganists in the media.

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Machiavelli once said that a dagger thrust that does not succeed in killing is inevitably fatal to the wielder. I cannot think of a worse weapon than one that causes irrational fear and anger in a population without impeding their ability to retaliate in any way whatsoever.

    It would make Pearl Harbor look like a master stroke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *