Moscow questioned on secret drone program
Russia’s development of a nuclear-armed drone submarine capable of inflicting widespread damage on U.S. coasts poses a serious threat, a senior State Department official testified on Tuesday.
Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told a House hearing that she has raised the issue with the Russians.
“I know we are concerned about it; of course we are concerned about it as threat to the United States,” Gottemoeller said under questioning from Rep. Mike Turner.
The undersecretary, who is the key policymaker for arms control issues, said the system would be a greater threat if “widely put into operation.”
The comment prompted Turner to reply: “One would probably be sufficiently troubling.”
“I think it is a troubling system, sir,” Gottemoeller said.
The exchange came during a joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs Committees on Russian arms cheating that highlighted a developmental weapons system first reported in Sept. 8 by the Washington Free Beacon. The NATO code name for the drone, which intelligence analysts say would be armed with a multi-megaton nuclear warhead for use against U.S. harbors and coastal cities, is “Kanyon.”
Russian government-controlled NTV television on Nov. 10 broadcast a purported classified document revealing the drone submarine as a nuclear-armed, nuclear powered unmanned underwater vehicle.
The document revealed that a large underwater drone called “Status 6” is under development and will be carried underneath one of two types of submarines. The drone can travel thousands of miles at high speeds and could be used for nuclear attacks on U.S. coastal cities.
A CIA analysis of the document and television report assessed that the disclosure was intentional and part of Russian nuclear saber-rattling.
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.) raised the issue of the nuclear drone submarine during his opening remarks.
“According to the Russian translations of what was disclosed, this weapon would provide Russia a new capability to damage ‘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,’” Rogers said.
“What does it say about a country that feels that nuclear weapons are such a significant tool of its military and diplomatic strategy that it discloses systems in this manner?” Rogers added.
“And what does this say about a country that would invest resources in such a weapon? This is just nuts.”
Rogers said the only time President Obama discussed nuclear weapons is “when he wants to propose reducing them.”
Full article: State Official: Russian Nuclear-Armed Drone Sub Threatens US (Washington Free Beacon)