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Russia’s nuclear-tipped autonomous underwater vehicle, the Kanyon,

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  • Russia’s nuclear-tipped autonomous underwater vehicle, the Kanyon,

    Kanyon’s Reach: Rethinking the Nuclear Triad in the Autonomous Age
    General Prize Essay Contest—Third Prize

    By Lieutenant Commander Joshua M. M. Portzer, U.S. Navy
    ....
    Throughout history, weapon system advances have created paradigm shifts for militaries. Occasionally these shifts are tectonic, unlocking new domains for warfare. The aircraft carrier took air warfare across oceans. The satellite brought electronic warfare to space. The next harbinger of strategic warfare’s future: autonomous unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs).

    Russia has developed a submarine-deployed autonomous UUV (AUUV) that can travel thousands of miles and detonate a nuclear payload of several megatons in a foreign harbor—a capability that will be operational by the late 2020s.1 A strategic nuclear weapon that is deployed and detonated undersea is a true paradigm shift: Never before has a country’s nuclear kill chain remained exclusively undersea.

    Kanyon

    The “Kanyon” weapon system—also referred to as Status-6 or Poseidon—first emerged in footage on Russian television in 2015. It is a nuclear-powered (N)-AUUV that can travel thousands of nautical miles (nm) at approximately 100 knots and can operate at a depth of 1,000 meters. While it may carry a conventional weapons payload, its nuclear warhead is approximately two megatons.2 Russia designed it as a strategic weapon to take out ports and coastal cities. It may deploy on up to four submarines (modified Oscar II class) in both the Northern and Pacific Fleets, with each submarine carrying up to eight Kanyon weapons.3

    Unlike any other nuclear weapon, Kanyon detonates underwater and is nuclear powered.4Washington references it in its Nuclear Posture Review 2018 (NPR) as a “new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”5 Russian President Vladimir Putin included Kanyon in his 2018 national address, along with three other advanced nuclear weapon vehicles.6 Russia began undersea trials for Kanyon in December 2018.

    The ramifications of Kanyon cannot be overstated. Consider the realm of nuclear treaties and deterrence. Kanyon could deploy by 2027. This is past New START’s expiration, even if it were extended to 2026. As Kanyon is an N-AUUV, it does not fit New START’s current weapons definitions, much like another new weapon, Kinzhal (an air-to-surface nuclear missile). Thus, it would not be subject to the treaty’s restrictions in current form.7 Furthermore, Kanyon is impervious to ballistic-missile defense because it travels by and detonates in the ocean. There is no option to detect a Russian launch of this weapon and then execute a counterlaunch. The United States would not know of the threat until it had detonated.
    ....
    https://www.usni.org/magazines/proce...autonomous-age

    Hopefully this isn't one where you have to be a member/subscriber to see.
    Last edited by G David Bock; 16 Jul 20, 16:18.

  • #2
    So it deploys it’s payload or is it like a torpedo?
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    Sapere aude.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
      So it deploys it’s payload or is it like a torpedo?
      So I highlighted in red this from the fourth paragraph;
      Washington references it in its Nuclear Posture Review 2018 (NPR) as a “new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”
      .... so sounds like a torpedo to me (or an underwater ICBM?).

      Most of the rest of the article isn't about tech details of this weapon, but about political and strategic actions/reactions that it and other newer autonomous weapon tech are presenting.

      Might have to look around on 'net to see if any other articles focused on this weapon and specs.

      Comment


      • #4
        wow, that's a game changer

        “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

        The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

        Comment


        • #5
          I’d imagine that for something like this to be nuclear powered, and armed with a conventional warhead... the target would have to be very strategic. A carrier killer perhaps.
          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
          Ernest Hemingway.

          Sapere aude.

          Comment


          • #6
            At 100kts underwater, how noisy would it be? Russia keeps coming out with these superweapons but they can't even get their tanks, destroyers and fighter aircraft in series production. Strange, isn't it???

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by johns624 View Post
              At 100kts underwater, how noisy would it be? Russia keeps coming out with these superweapons but they can't even get their tanks, destroyers and fighter aircraft in series production. Strange, isn't it???
              Seems they may not be "out" with it yet, still as likely R&D stage. From that excerpt above; "Kanyon could deploy by 2027". So we may have a few years to see if it will work, and/or work ourselves on a counter-measure; anti-Kanyon.

              The article/link is from US Naval Institute website and they publish two periodicals, "Naval History" and "Proceedings". Latter is usually focused on current and future naval warfare issues, so this looks to be a "heads-up" sort of notice.

              Even if it works and is noisy at 100kts, launched from a sub just 100-200 miles off shore and there is little advance warning time. And at this time, no counter-measure, method of interdiction (publicly known anyway).

              Indicative of where technology is going and what USA and USN need to consider and try to be on top of.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by slick24 View Post
                wow, that's a game changer
                Could be, but not on-line yet. Needs to be seen if it will work, still an R&D it sounds like.

                But hint of 'shape of things to come'.

                Comment

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