Russia is ready to deploy nuclear-capable Poseidon underwater drones in the Pacific as part of its oceanic multi-purpose system.
Given the poor state of relations between the Kremlin and the United States, the American superpower is evidently the primary target of new Russian weaponry, but the deployment of Poseidon could eventually become an issue for China as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled the development of Poseidon last March. It is said the unmanned submersible vehicle can carry a two-megaton nuclear warhead and is capable of destroying enemy aircraft carriers and infrastructure facilities.
It would be able to travel at a very high speed and an operational depth of up to 1,000 meters, making its interception very difficult.
The arms system is undergoing underwater trials, and two Poseidon-carrying submarines will be incorporated into the Russian Pacific Fleet – another two are expected to join the Northern Fleet. Each carrier will deploy a maximum of eight strategic drone-torpedoes.
The Poseidon strike system is designed to attack predominantly key coastal targets such as naval bases and carrier battle groups. Once fully operational, it would pose a very serious risk to key bases and assets of the US 7th and 3rd fleets, as well as to the Pacific coast of the United States.
In the case of an open military confrontation with the United States, the Russian navy would likely make targeting main naval bases such as San Diego, Pearl Harbor or Yokosuka, Japan its first priority, because they are home to principal naval assets such as aircraft carriers, major amphibious vessels, Aegis guided-missile cruisers and destroyers.
In this respect, the use of Poseidon torpedoes against important naval assets would allow it to achieve strategic outcomes with a single, swift strategic strike.