Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Putin fails to test doomsday weapon that can engulf cities in 'radioactive tsunamis' and swim around the world forever
11 November 2022, 09:10
Vladimir Putin's forces failed to test a "doomsday" nuclear torpedo that it's claimed could engulf cities with "radioactive tsunamis".
Listen to this article
The Russian Navy deployed its massive Belgorod submarine which has been modified to fit the Poseidon torpedo, which can carry either conventional or nuclear weapons.
It is nuclear powered, meaning it has effectively unlimited range in the seas.
Putin has boasted about its capabilities while a senior US official warned in 2020 that it was designed to "inundate US coastal cities with radioactive tsunamis".
The Belgorod was sent to the Arctic Sea but returned without testing it within the last week. The US believes the failure to test it was due to technical difficulties.
A Western diplomat told CNN: "This can be seen as part of the bigger picture and Russia's recent military practice, sending ill-trained and under-equipped troops to Ukraine.
"Russia’s military industry is going through difficult times, and we can also see that Western sanctions on high-tech military goods are having an effect and must continue."
It is believed the Russians will try another test but the proving area is going to ice over soon.
The US does not think a test would involve a nuclear blast, either, but if its nuclear powered propulsion system failed it could cause a radioactive incident.
It has been nicknamed a "doomsday" weapon and Putin has previously boasted about it – though Russia's ability to produce effective weapons has been questioned given its military's failures in Ukraine, where Western equipment has proved to be superior.
"The nuclear power unit is unique for its small size while offering an amazing power-weight ratio," Putin said in 2018.
The Poseidon is the same shape as a torpedo but much larger, measuring up to 79ft long, while estimates about its speed range between 70mph and 124mph.
Capable of carving out a route underwater by scanning the sea floor, it could be used to attack submerged cables and pipelines – a threat taken more seriously given recent sabotages to European undersea infrastructure that has been blamed on the Kremlin.
The Belgorod, the longest submarine in the world, is understood to be capable of carrying six Poseidon torpedoes.