The Pentagon released its annual nuclear posture review last January, outlining the nuclear capabilities of foreign nations, particularly those that pose a threat to the safety and security of the United States. To the surprise of defense experts everywhere, a long-rumored Russian “doomsday” weapon, the Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6, found its way into the document, suggesting that U.S. Intelligence officials had finally confirmed the weapon’s existence.

Russians tout submersible 'doomsday' nuke with massive, record yield -- Should we be worried?
A low resolution picture of the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review shows Russia’s Kanyon, or “Status 6,” circled in red. (DoD)

Prior to that day, Russian leaks had suggested Moscow was developing a massive nuclear weapon with an unusual mode of delivery, but like most information “leaked” to the Russian media for marketing purposes, the weapon was awarded little in the way of legitimate attention. Last January’s revelation that the Status-6, which goes by the name “Kanyon” within the Pentagon and “Poseidon” within the Kremlin, could soon enter service with the Russian military raised more than eyebrows. This new weapon is like nothing ever seen before in a number of ways.

Russians tout submersible 'doomsday' nuke with massive, record yield -- Should we be worried?
This supposedly-leaked image of the “Status 6” platform appeared on Russian television last year. (Twitter)

What makes it different from previous nuclear weapons?

Unlike nuclear missiles, Russia’s Poseidon is a submersible drone that can be deployed from one of Russia’s stealthy nuclear attack submarines. From there, the drone could traverse thousands of miles on its own before coming to rest on the floor of an American port. Once it received the command to detonate, the massive nuclear weapon on board would produce an explosion larger than any ever recorded, resulting in a massive tsunami of irradiated water ushering destruction for hundreds of miles inland. Defending against such a stealthy nuclear attack, it’s important to note, may be beyond America’s current defensive capability — something Moscow made sure to point out in its statements this week.