This Maskirovka

Have you heard about Russia’s top-secret undersea dirty bomb program that they may or may want you to think really exists?

Well, here you go:

A stray camera at a meeting of top Russian military leaders has allegedly captured a glimpse of the Kremlin’s possible plan for a bewildering and frightening new weapon—a radiation-scattering “dirty bomb.” One delivered by a drone submarine, which itself rides piggyback on another submarine.

The problem is: we have no way of knowing for sure if this is in fact an existing weapon or simply a media provocation designed to make us think that Russian President Vladimir Putin has got a dangerous new toy in his arsenal. If it’s real, then Russia is the first country we know about to come into possession of a weapon that, while not nearly as destructive as an atomic bomb, could spread lethal radiation over a wide area, rendering it uninhabitable. If the segment is a fake, it’s the latest in a long list of Kremlin media hoaxes.

Don’t believe much coming out of Putin’s Kremlin, but be extra wary when it’s something released on “accident.”

But stipulating for the moment that this is real, why build such a thing?

Read on:

The fleeting glance at the book, visible at the 1:46 mark in the video, features twin headers. “Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6” and “Developer—Rubin Design Bureau.” And, below that, some explanatory text and illustrations.

“Purpose—the defeat of the important economic facilities in the area of the enemy coast,” the text reads, “and causing unacceptable damage to… the country through the establishment of extensive zones of radioactive contamination, unsuitable for implementation in these areas of military, economic, business or other activity for a long time.”

The illustrations on the Sochi brief depict a torpedo-like robotic vehicle as well as two larger subs—the nuclear-powered “Project 09852” and “Project 09851” vessels that are currently under construction for the Russian navy, and which are both reportedly optimized for rescue, reconnaissance and other undersea special operations.

It would be a fool’s errand to try and get this things close enough to launch on our shores. Although if I were writing a novel about WWIII, I might start the hostilities with the Russians hitting Norfolk, New York, and Boston Harbor in a triple sneak-attack.

But I suspect Europe’s ports might be much more vulnerable, and that Europe’s leaders are the real targets of this agitprop.