Gertz Addresses Story on Russia Building Nuclear-Armed Drone Submarine: ‘It’s Certainly an Alarming Development’

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz was interviewed by radio host Sam Sorbo Tuesday on his story about Russia building a drone submarine to deliver large-scale nuclear weapons against U.S. harbors and coastal cities.

"It's certainly an alarming development because it shows that the Russians are very serious about building up their nuclear forces," Gertz said. "Again, this is a developmental program. It's some years away, but it's a big story the fact that they are building this new ‘Kanyon' unmanned, underwater vehicle."

Gertz reports:

The developmental unmanned underwater vehicle, or UUV, when deployed, will be equipped with megaton-class warheads capable of blowing up key ports used by U.S. nuclear missile submarines, such as Kings Bay, Ga., and Puget Sound in Washington state.

Details of the secret Russian nuclear UUV program remain closely held within the U.S. government.

The Pentagon, however, has code-named the drone "Kanyon," an indication that the weapon is a structured Russian arms program.

The nuclear drone submarine is further evidence of what officials say is an aggressive strategic nuclear forces modernization under President Vladimir Putin. The building is taking place as the Obama administration has sought to reduce the role of nuclear arms in U.S. defenses and to rely on a smaller nuclear force for deterrence.

Officials familiar with details of the Kanyon program said the weapon is envisioned as an autonomous submarine strike vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead ranging in size to "tens" of megatons in yield. A blast created by a nuclear weapon that size would create massive damage over wide areas.

A megaton is the equivalent of 1 million tons of TNT.

Lies and misinformation have been a Russian specialty for decades, Gertz said.

The Kanyon appears to be part of a Russian strategic modernization effort that seeks to give Moscow the ability to coerce the United States. It is also expected to complicate the Obama administration’s attempts to seek further reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear forces after the 2010 New START arms treaty.

New arms cuts were derailed after Russia’s military annexation of Crimea and continuing destabilization of eastern Ukraine, as well as by Moscow’s failure to return to compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.