CIA says leak of Russian nuclear-armed drone sub was intentional

Friday, November 20, 2015 by

( The supposed accidental leak of a document purporting to show plans for a new nuclear-armed drone sub being developed by Russia was actually intentional, intelligence officials told the Washington Free Beacon in recent days.

NTV television, which is generally aligned with the Russian government, revealed a secret document during a Nov. 10 broadcast of remarks by President Vladimir Putin criticizing U.S. missile defense systems.

The document that was displayed on screen during the broadcast contained images of the drone submarine, including its nuclear warhead and nuclear power plant, as well as two larger subs used to transport the drone.

The WFB reported that U.S. intelligence officials who reviewed the video of the NTV broadcast concluded that the timing of its release was intended to be coupled with Putin’s remarks about missile defense.

Intel officials said that, based on comments from the Kremlin, the leaking of plans for the nuclear sub drone were likely part of saber-rattling and Russian propaganda efforts to dissuade the Obama administration from deploying missile defenses in Europe that Moscow opposes.

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The document with a diagram of the drone was part of a package of documents being perused by a general officer who was among a group of senior Russian military and national security officials at a meeting in Sochi, Russia.

The general holding the document is believed to be Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, chief of the Russian general staff’s main operations directorate, the WFB reported.

The document, which is in Russian, states that the remotely piloted sub would travel at a depth of up to 3,280 feet and could achieve speeds of up to 56 knots, with a range of more than 6,200 miles.

U.S. intelligence officials say the craft will pack a very large warhead, something in the neighborhood of 10 megatons or the equivalent of 10 million tons of TNT. The weapon is designed to penetrate harbors and inner coastal areas of large cities during a nuclear conflict.

Interpreters with U.S. intelligence agencies that, according to the document, the drone sub’s primary objective is to destroy “key economic assets in coastal areas and to cause guaranteed unacceptable damage to the country’s territory.”

As reported earlier, the nuclear drone’s development is yet another indication of an aggressive nuclear forces modernization that has become a priority for Putin. The development of the sub comes as President Barack Obama has sought to reduce the role that nuclear weapons play in U.S. defense, as well as rely on a much smaller nuclear force for deterrence.

“This is an unmanned sub that will have a high-speed and long-distance capability,” said one official, who noted that the drone development is years away from a prototype and testing.

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