Experts Say

Red Glare: The Origin and Implications of Russia’s ‘New’ Nuclear Weapons

March 26, 2018
By Austin Long

“Crazy.” “Dr. Strangelove weapons.” These were just two of the more colorful reactions to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s revelation of new exotic nuclear delivery systems in a March 1 speech. The system receiving the most attention is a nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed cruise missile with intercontinental range, though the Status-6, a nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed long-range underwater vehicle, has also drawn comment. Why would Russia, which has over 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads that can already be delivered from existing ballistic and cruise missiles, invest in these new, exotic — and, according to some, crazy — systems?
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