With reports that a Russian destroyer has fired warning shots at a Turkish ship in the Aegean Sea, Russia has just tested its autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named Rus.
The Russia-made underwater drone dived below a 3.7-mile mark in the central Atlantic Ocean, according to Sputnik News citing the Russian Defense Ministry.
The underwater drone was designed for “technical work, search-and-rescue, and scientific research at depths of up to 6,000 meters using a manipulator,” Vice Admiral Alexei Burilichev, who is responsible for Russia’s Defense Ministry department for underwater research, was quoted in the statement on Monday.
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The advanced Russian sea drone can shoot photos and videos, carry out geological surveys, as well as explore underwater archaeological sites. The body of the underwater drone is made of titanium alloy capable of withstanding high pressure. Russia used the Yantar oceanographic research ship to lower the drone into the Atlantic.
Underwater drone can disrupt Internet communications
The underwater drone can also be used to map the borders of Russia’s Arctic shelf, according to Viktor Baranets, a Russian military expert, as reported by Radio Sputnik.
“People at the Pentagon say our drone is meant to destroy undersea infrastructure, disrupt Internet communications, destroy underwater cables, pick up secret information and things like that,” Baranets said.
However, he said that this underwater drone will help Russia determine the limits of the country’s continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. While conventional submarines can dive only a kilometer and a half deep, this underwater drone can go six kilometers deeper to “prove that the Arctic zones we claim really belong to us,” according to Baranets.
The underwater drone is manned by a crew of two or three people, and it features all needed equipment to maintain hours of autonomous work. “By creating this mini-sub Russia proved once again that it is in the forefront of scientific-technical progress in this particular area,” Baranets said.
Russia military spending 2016: Huge plans
Moscow announced on Monday it will buy 200 more planes and helicopters along with 30 additional ships and submarines annually to modernize its armed forces, according to International Business Times.
“There are plans for purchasing an annual 70-100 planes and more than 120 helicopters and up to 30 surface ships, submarines and special and auxiliary ships and 600 armored vehicles a year,” Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s General Staff, said, as reported by Russia’s ITAR-TASS. “The state program for armaments extending till 2021 will increase the share of modern weapons and military hardware to no less than 70 percent.”
The chief of Russia’s General Staff added that Russia is set to keep developing its naval and air military might over the next decade. Russia’s military modernization plan for 2011-2020 is focused largely on intelligence and communications equipment, while Moscow also upgrades its nuclear arsenal.
Amid Russia’s military operation in Syria, the country’s Defense Ministry announced that 200 additional and upgraded aircraft will be added to its fleet in 2016, which could be interpreted that Russia has long-term plans for its airstrike operation in Syria.
The announcement comes amid escalated tensions between Turkey and Russia after a Russian destroyer fired warning shots at a Turkish ship in the Aegean Sea this past weekend. The move came nearly 3 weeks after a Russian fighter jet was shot down by the Turkish military over Turkish airspace.
With Russia’s economy continuing to suffer from low oil prices (below $40 a barrel) and Western sanctions imposed over the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia’s 2016 budget is still based on oil prices at $50 a barrel, which could create certain difficulties for the country’s military plans in the long run. Moreover, Russia’s budget deficit is projected to hit more than $21 billion in 2016, the Moscow Times reported.
New Russian military hardware in 2015
In 2015, the Russian military has experienced the kind of modernization never seen before in Russia’s modern history. On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry published a report where it detailed the military hardware that has recently entered service in the Russian Armed Forces, according to Russian Peacekeeper.
Over this past year, the Russian army has received 1,172 new tanks, including the state-of-the-art T-14 Armata battle tank, 250 additional aircraft, including two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers and three Tu-160 strategic bombers.
In 2015, Russia has also strengthened the military capabilities of its naval strategic forces, receiving the Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh nuclear-powered submarines.
Moscow has also deployed as many as 35 new ballistic missiles, while the nuclear triad equipment is currently upgraded by 55 percent.
Russia accidentally leaked nuclear drone details
Last month, a Russian television broadcast accidentally revealed details on Moscow’s top-secret nuclear weapon. During the broadcast of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s top generals, TV cameras, as Russia claims, ‘accidentally’ picked up a page detailing a weapon system called Status-6.
This Status-6 weapon system is a massive underwater drone designed to carry a thermonuclear “dirty bomb” into enemy ports, according to the Discovery channel.
Analysts have managed to describe the top-secret weapon as a submarine-launched nuclear-powered drone, capable of traveling more than 10,000 kilometers underwater, and equipped with a megaton thermonuclear device. This nuclear-powered drone was characterized as a massive dirty bomb that would create a “shower of radioactive slurry” if detonated in shallow water, according to New Scientist.
This massive dirty bomb would inflict “unacceptable damage to a country’s territory by creating areas of wide radioactive contamination that would be unsuitable for military, economic or other activity for long periods of time,” according to Pavel Podvig of Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, as reported by the Discovery channel.
However, it is widely believed that the move was a well-organized, Cold War-style, intelligence agency trick to show off Russia’s non-existent military power and send shivers down the Pentagon’s spine.