SATELLITES have spotted Russia’s massive mega submarine which is believed to be armed with Vladimir Putin’s new “weapon of the apocalypse” drone nuclear torpedos.
Nato reportedly issued a warning as they lost track of the Belgorod – a 604ft, 30,000 ton, nuclear powered submarine – as fears loom Vlad could detonate a nuke in a show of force to the West over Ukraine.
Belgorod however has now been spotted in satellite pictures by expert naval observers operating in the Barents Sea – a part of the Arctic Ocean.
The relatively shallow waters are key proving ground for Putin’s navy with the sea’s coasts belonging to Russia and Norway.
Pictures first released by naval warfare researcher H I Sutton show the submarine surfaced in the Barents on September 22.
And another satellite picture shows the massive boat operating on September 27 – just one day after the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic.
The pictures appear to definitively end any speculation that Belgorod – known for being equipped with drones and a mini submarine slung beneath her belly – could have been involved in the sabotage.
And the images were provided to The Sun Online by Sentinel Hub.
Chilling speculation however continues that the massive vessel could be working on another even more explosive mission for Putin.
Belgorod is the world’s largest operational submarine – dwarfing the US Navy’s Los Angeles class attack vessels and Britain’s Astute class.
She first entered service with the Russian navy back in July, being dubbed a “city killer”.
And the focus is very much on her armament, with Belgorod understood to be capable of carrying up to eight Poseidon nuclear drone torpedos.
The torpedos are 79foot long and carry a nuclear warhead – shooting towards enemy targets beneath the waves at speeds of around 70 knots (80mph).
Officially dubbed the less snappy Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System, the Poseidon is one of the six “superweapons” which Putin ordered up for Russia.
It is understood to weigh around 100 tons and is also full autonomous.
The robotic torpedo can lurk beneath the waves before waiting for the right moment to detonate its nuclear bomb.
Pentagon officials have described the weapon as a “new intercontinental, nuclear armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo”.
The weapon has alarmingly been dubbed the “weapon of the apocalypse” and Putin’s state media stooges have claimed it can “plunge Britain into the depths of the sea”.
Some estimates have given the power of the warhead carried by Poseidon as 100 megatons – twice the seize the biggest nuke ever exploded, the Tsar Bomba.
But more conservative estimates have said the yield of the weapon may be as low as two megatons.
It is believed the weapon can be used against enemy warships – or potentially even create “radioactive tsunamis” to swamp coastal cities.
Poseidon’s carrier, the massive Belgorod, was converted from an Oscar II submarine which was first laid down 30 years ago after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The sub was specially designed for covert operations having secret compartments to launch mini-subs and drones for covert sabotage and spying ops – such as cutting undersea cables – alongside its nuclear weapons.