The US magazine National Interest has revealed five nuclear-powered submarines that it believes “could destroy the world in 30 minutes” and that proved to be “the most deadly weapons mankind has ever devised”.
The US-made Ohio-class submarine, armed with 24 Trident II ballistic missiles, ranks first in The National Interest’s top-five list.
Each Trident II missile can carry twelve W88 475 kiloton thermonuclear warheads, which “have the capability to be used as first strike weapons”, according to the news outlet, which specifically refers to the Ohio-class submarine’s “formidable capabilities”.
National Interest asserts that even a single such vessel “could reduce as many as 288 city-sized targets into radioactive ash in less than 30 minutes”, ending human civilisation “in less time than it takes to order a pizza”.
US Navy Ohio-class Ballistic Missile Submarine - USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) arrived into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on FEB 20 following a routine strategic deterrent patrol. pic.twitter.com/XlcDFaMGeW— Navy Vessels (@NavyVessels) February 23, 2018
Right now, nine Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines are deployed in the Pacific and five more are on mission in the Atlantic.
These submarines are being built to replace the Ohio-class vehicles with their “ageing design”, National Interest reports, adding that the new subs are “slightly larger than the Ohio-class” but only have 16 Trident II missiles on board.
Most of the new vessels’ “massive size is taken up by a new life-of-the-boat reactor and permanent magnet motor drive, which while extremely quiet, is also enormous”, the magazine notes.
The first such submarine, which can be seen as “an advanced derivative” of the Virginia-class vehicle, is expected to enter service in 2031.
Russia’s Project 955
The Russian Navy’s Project 955 Borei-class ballistic missile submarine ranks third in the deadliest sub list.
These vessels are equipped with sixteen RSM-56 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles with a rage of 8,000 kilometres (about 4,970 miles).
The missiles’ nuclear warheads are specifically designed to evade enemy air defence systems, National Interest recalls, touting the Borei-class submarines as “the quietest Russian ballistic missile submarines built to date”.
Also in the list is another Russian-made vehicle, the Project 667BDRM Delfin-class (Delta IV) ballistic missile submarine.
“The current backbone of the Russian ballistic missile submarine fleet” is armed with 16 R-29RMU Sineva liquid-fuel ballistic missiles, which can be fired “in any direction from a constant course in a circular sector”, according to the National Interest.
The magazine recalls that the submarine is also capable of launching its ballistic missiles “from a depth of 55 meters while cruising at a speed of six to seven knots”.
Last but not least is the Russian Navy’s Project 885M Yasen-class guided missile submarine.
National Interest describes the vehicles as “a threat to the US homeland”, pointing to the fact that even though the Yasens are not ballistic missile submarines, they have “a payload of 32 dual nuclear/conventional capable 3M-14K Kalibr cruise missiles that have a range of over 2,500 kilometres” (around 1,550 miles).
These “fast and extremely quiet” submarines “could easily close to 2,000 km off the American east coast and strike inland as far as the Great Lakes”, National Interest concludes.