According to the state agency Tass, Russia is strengthening its naval operations in the Pacific region, with plans to station more nuclear submarines in the area by 2024.
Tass didn’t say where the sites would be located, but a Russian naval base at Vladivostok has been operational for over a century. On the Kamchatka Peninsula, it also maintains a Pacific Fleet station large enough to host nuclear submarines.
At least three of Russia’s new Borey-class nuclear submarines are destined for the Pacific, where they will remain submerged for months at a time.
The Borey class can carry 16 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Each Bulava can carry six 140-megaton nuclear warheads. In contrast, the 18-kiloton bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II was responsible for the deaths of approximately 80,000 people. The bases might potentially be home to nuclear-armed submarines capable of launching guided torpedoes.
According to the US Naval Institute, the Poseidon torpedo is about 24 meters long. It is a nuclear-armed drone that relies on nuclear propulsion, allowing it to hit targets thousands of miles away. Kilometers away from its launch point.
Little is known about the Poseidon warhead, but experts say it could have a power of two megatons, giving it a destructive power some 100 times that of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
“Coastal infrastructure construction work for installing two special submarines in Kamchatka is scheduled to be completed early next year,” a defense source told Tass. The Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk make up the eastern and western coasts of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
According to Tass, a new division is being established under the Pacific Fleet’s Submarine Forces, featuring Belgorod and Khabarovsk, among others.
The source said the new special submarines would resolve “strategic deterrence” tasks. The major modernization of the Russian nuclear base comes amid rising tensions between the United States and China over influence in the western Pacific.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Sunday that Moscow was not forming a military alliance with China’s capital of Beijing; however, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged last week to strengthen ties between the two countries in all areas, including the military.