A report outlining Trump’s position on nuclear weapons was recently leaked and highlighted a great deal of sensitive information. In this revelatory document, the American administration confirmed the existence of Kanyon, currently the most powerful nuclear weapon in the world. Held by the Russians, it is an autonomous torpedo with a nuclear payload of 100 megatons.
The Huffington Post published extracts from the Trump administration’s report on nuclear weapons. The report evaluated the role nuclear arms would play in United States security over the course of the next five to ten years. But most importantly, it confirmed that Russia had developed the most powerful nuclear weapon in the world. Although this information had been leaked in Russia in 2015, the Russian authorities had previously denied the revelation.
The weapon is now no longer just a rumour, but a military fact. Worse again, it is at least twice as powerful as any other nuclear weapon that has been tested to date. Kanyon is an autonomous torpedo capable of travelling 10,000 kilometers, with a thermonuclear payload of 100 megatons. The maximum declared speed is 100 knots (around 185 km/h), meaning it would take 36 hours for it to get from Kronstadt, the most westerly point of Russia, to New York, the most populated city in the United States.
“Kanyon is unique in every respect,” according to defense analyst and military historian, H.I. Sutton, quoted by the website Futurism. “There really is nothing like it in any navy’s inventory.” According to a nuclear bomb simulator called Nukemap, if this one single torpedo was dropped on New York tomorrow, it would instantly kill 8 million people and injure 6.6 million more. In the ocean, it would also create a massive tsunami which would cover the coastal area with radioactive water. If the weapon does actually contain the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60, as some have reported, detonation could make the contaminated areas inhabitable to humans for an entire century.
It remains to be seen for what purpose such a detonation would be intended. This terrifying weapon is now seen as a sign that Russia are seeking to diversify its nuclear arsenal, probably in order to finding ways around future anti-missile restrictions. Based on such a nuclear strategy, it would appear that Russia possesses a weapon that neither the US nor any other country could defend themselves against. This would make any nuclear attack on Russia very dangerous, if not impossible. Are we looking at a new version of mutual assured destruction?