(CNN)Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to the climate emergency, in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe.
Weapons experts and Western officials have expressed particular concern about one Russian ‘super-weapon,’ the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. Development of the torpedo is moving fast with Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting an update on a “key stage” of the tests in February from his defense minister Sergei Shoigu, with further tests planned this year, according to multiple reports in state media.
Images show build up of Russia’s military presence in the Arctic
Images show build up of Russia’s military presence in the Arctic 04:15
This unmanned stealth torpedo is powered by a nuclear reactor and intended by Russian designers to sneak past coastal defenses — like those of the US — on the sea floor.
The device is intended to deliver a warhead of multiple megatons, according to Russian officials, causing radioactive waves that would render swathes of the target coastline uninhabitable for decades.