Breathtaking satellite images have captured the moment when three Russian missile submarines carrying up to 200 nuclear weapons burst through the pack ice of the Arctic.
The photos were shared by space technology company Maxar, which supplies satellite imagery to both military and civilian customers, and has been selected as the provider of the power and propulsion element for NASA’s Lunar Gateway space station.
The subs surfaced took place near Franz Josef Land off the coast of Russia in the Arctic Ocean. In the event of war, nuclear-capable subs from both sides would use the ice as cover, only surfacing to launch their terrifying payloads.
On March 20, in a dazzling display of precision navigation, three of the Russian navy’s ballistic missile submarines surfaced with in 300 yards of each other.
Two of them were the Delta IV type, which are armed with16 multi-warhead R-29RMU Sineva liquid-fuelled missiles each. The third is a newer Borei-class boat, carrying 16 RSM-56 Bulava missiles.
Between them, the subs carry a total nuclear payload of some 28.8 megatons, around 1,800 times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
A propaganda video was released by the Russian Ministry of Defence of the successful operation, dubbed 'Umka-2021 Arctic expedition', showing all three submarines slowly breaking through the ice.
According to Life magazine, Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Evmenov reported the results to President Vladimir Putin on March 26.
President Putin spoke of his pride in the operation and reportedly plans to continue explorations in the Arctic Circle to ensure Russia's military security and potentially find new shipping routes which may be possible as ice continues to melt in the Arctic.
Three US Navy subs, Seawolf, Connecticut, and Jimmy Carter, were designed and built with the express purpose of stalking and, if need be, eliminating the Russian missile platforms.
The Pentagon has reportedly shown particular interest in the Russian nuclear submarines' impressive new manoeuvre.
The feat isn't entirely new, though.
The US Navy and Royal Navy collaborated on a similar exercise when the American submarines USS Hampton and USS Hartford and Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant smashed through the Arctic ice together in March 2018.
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