January 30, 2018 · Russia Status-6 AUDEN Istina

Status-6 and Micronaval Priorities

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The Pentagon has officially acknowledged the existence of Status-6, a Russian "intercontinental nuclear-armed undersea autonomous torpedo" designed to not only destroy coastal targets, such as ports and naval bases, but render those areas uninhabitable for nearly a century. The acknowledgement of what is being called a doomsday weapon comes via a draft of the defense department's Nuclear Posture Review.

Although the existence of Status-6 has now been acknowledged, its reported capabilities - 100 MT warhead, cobalt-60 "salting," running depth of 1000 meters, range of 10,000 kilometers, speeds as high as 56 (or even 100) knots - have yet to be confirmed. But assuming Status-6 is in fact genuine, and that its features have not been exaggerated or its existence outright fabricated for disinformation purposes, then the United States is facing an alarmingly unique threat which can only be defeated by equally unique countermeasures. The value of the Atom-class submarine and Strikepods, therefore, has never been more clear, and the need for a well articulated doctrine for microsubmarine employment in undersea nuclear deterrence has never been more urgent.

By leveraging the flexibility and autonomy of the Atom-class microsubmarine, a Strikepod, or group of Strikepods, can be configured to act as a roaming, undersea ballistic missile-style defense network to intercept, disrupt and/or destroy incoming Status-6 vehicles.

There are two deployment options available to Russian planners to protect Status-6: Strategic Bastion, similar to the Soviet and post-Cold War Russian practice of keeping SSBNs close to shore in areas heavily defended by sea and land-based ASW assets, and Strategic Dispersal, scattering Status-6s regionally or globally to increase survivability by presenting multiple autonomous, independently targeted vehicles.

Strategic Bastion:
Status-6s are held close to the Russian coastline either:

Strategic Dispersal:
Status-6s are scattered throughout the world's oceans, far from their intended targets, obscured by the vastness of the sea and undersea geography while awaiting the order to launch. Such a strategy would be operationally challenging, requiring robust and reliable undersea communications, as well as a highly advanced command and control infrastructure that would involve multiple classes of micronaval assets to relay launch data and conduct counter-UUV operations. With a purported range of 10,000 km, Status-6s could be deployed anywhere in the world, far from their intended targets, attacking with little or no warning.

Status-6 can be defeated by leveraging the superior maneuverability and autonomy of the Atom-class microsubmarine, as well as the swarming capability of Strikepods. Given, however, that the top speed of a Status-6 is anywhere from two to four times that of the Atom-class, the key to mission success will be maximizing tactical lead time in order to plot and execute an effective intercept.

Recommendations:

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Strikepod Command

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