Vladimir Putin has developed a reputation for being a man of action. He enjoys practicing karate with friends like Steven Seagal, riding horses shirtless through the mountains and putting tigers to sleep by shooting them with tranquilizer guns. It should come as no surprise then that Russia has some serious military ambition.
The BBC reported today that plans for a secret long-range nuclear torpedo were accidentally leaked on Russian television news. The report was covering Putin’s meeting with military leaders and accidentally filmed some sensitive documents with technical details on a possible cobalt warhead. The schematics revealed it would be launched from a submarine with goals of “damaging the important components of the adversary’s economy in a coastal area and inflicting 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 a translation by Russian forces. A cobalt nuclear warhead has never been tested due to the massive radioactive traces it would leave in its wake. In the event of war, the use of a cobalt nuclear warhead would completely annihilate any coastal city. A nuclear weapon delivered by water would also bypass NATO’s missile defense shield.
CBS news reported Tuesday, that Russia would do all in their power to counter NATO’s US-led missile defense program. The missile defense program was primarily put in place to hold back threats of possible nuclear attacks from Iran and North Korea but Putin argued it is just a guise and “that their true task is to neutralize nuclear potential of other nuclear powers.” Putin fears this would take away Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent and in turn take away some its influence in world affairs. Washington argues it would not be able to hold back Russia’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and that it is really aimed at preventing attacks from other nations such as Iran.
Putin is adamant that Russia will continue to push forward developing new weapons in an effort to penetrate any defense system and retain its influence on the world. U.S and Russian relations have not been great lately and could arguably be at their lowest point since the cold war. Russia has serious military ambition, however it also has drawbacks that prevent it from reaching them.
The Business Insider reported that manpower and hardware have prevented Russia from building modern weapons before, following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia lost a lot of its technological and industrial prowess. It is also not in a great economic state to procure the necessary resources to build modern weapons on a large scale. Still, Russia is a world power desperate to regain its Soviet era dominance and Putin is a man of great ambitions who should not be underestimated.