- Massive Typhoon-class sub Dmitry Donskoy is to leave the White Sea and travel around Norway and Denmark
- Measuring an enormous 574-foot in length the Russian vessel it is one of the most feared of the Cold War era
- The beast set to serve as a chilling reminder to the rest of the world about Russia’s growing nuclear prowess
- Submarine can stay submerged for 120 days with a crew of 160 on board and is fitted with six torpedo tubes
Russia has flexed its nuclear muscles once again by sending the world’s largest submarine with an arsenal of 200 weapons on board including 20 nuclear missiles to the Baltic Sea.
The massive Typhoon-class sub called Dmitry Donskoy is to leave the White Sea and travel around Norway and Denmark into what Putin’s officials are calling NATO’s swimming pool.
Measuring 574-foot in length and equipped with a total of 200 deadly weapons, it is one of the most feared vessels of the Cold War era.
The Kremlin is scheduled to parade the submarine in St Petersburg, but is set to serve as a chilling reminder to the rest of the world about Russia’s nuclear prowess.
Eerily, the Dmitry Donskoy – named after the Prince of Moscow who reigned from 1359 to 1389 – can stay submerged for periods of up to 120 days and is fitted with six torpedo tubes.
Typhoon-class submarines feature multiple pressure hulls that simplify internal design while making the vessel much wider than a normal submarine.
In the main body of the sub, two long pressure hulls lie parallel with a third, smaller pressure hull above them which protrudes just below the sail, and two other pressure hulls for torpedoes and steering gear.
This design greatly increases their chances of survival — even if one pressure hull is breached, the crew members in the other are safe and there is less potential for flooding.
It is big enough to hold a crew of 160 on board.
It was deployed by the Soviet Army in the 1980s after being developed under Project 941 as the Russian Akula class, which translates to shark.
The reason for building the enormous fighting machine was to counter the American equivalent Ohio-class submarines, which were capable of carrying 192 warheads.
Typically, the Russian model – of which six were build – was bigger and heavier than its US counterpart.
The Dmitriy Donskoy is the only one still in active service with the Russian Navy, but its operational duties have now been scaled back to serve as a test platform for the Bulava missile.
It appears the presence of the sub in the Baltic Sea is purely for show due to the shallowness of the water.
Typhoons were built to hide in the world’s deepest oceans and stay there undetected for months, whereas the stretch of water separating Scandinavia and northern mainland Europe has an average depth of just 180 feet.
This will mean it will be forced to surface to avoid scraping along the sea bed, giving enthusiasts the chance to catch a glimpse of the beast.
Just two days ago, Lithuania warned NATO that Russia has the capability to attack the Baltic states with as little as 24 hours’ notice according to intelligence sources.
Such a sneak attack would force NATO to respond with just the small number of military assets in place, the Lithuanian intelligence service claimed.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, annexed by the Soviet Union in the 1940s but now part of both NATO and the European Union, have been increasingly nervous since the Russian takeover of Crimea in 2014.
The Lithuanian intelligence service said in its annual threat assessment that Russia had upgraded its military in the Kaliningrad region last year, reducing lead times for any attack and potentially preventing NATO reinforcements.
The Russian upgrade included Su-30 fighter aircraft and missile systems allowing ships to be targeted almost anywhere in the Baltic Sea.
Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said: ‘This is a signal to NATO to improve its decision speed. NATO’s reaction time is not as fast as we would like it to be.’
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the concerns as a display of anti-Russian sentiment.
He replied: ‘There is total Russophobia, hysterical Russophobia going on. Moscow has always supported good relations with the Baltic states.’
This year NATO is deploying a force of about 1,000 soldiers in each of the Baltic states and Poland, in addition to smaller contingents of U.S. troops already in the region.
Karoblis continued: ‘The force is adequate in the short-term, but in the medium-term perspective we would like more capability, and not only land troops but also air defences and capabilities to counter any blockade.’
Russia is monitoring and suppressing radio frequencies used by NATO pilots over the Baltic Sea and is using commercial and scientific ships for surveillance, the report said.
The intelligence service said there was also the risk of ‘deliberate or accidental incidents’ involving Russian and Belarusian troops who are taking part in military exercises planned for March.
The Baltic states have previously said they would press the United States and NATO to take additional security measures in the region ahead of the exercises.
Intelligence officers said disinformation aimed at discrediting NATO soldiers stationed in Lithuania, such as a recent false report of a rape by German soldiers, was likely to persist.
Head of Lithuanian military counter intelligence Remigijus Baltrenas added: ‘Provocations against NATO units in Lithuania will continue and will get bigger.’