Russia says its 'doomsday plane' can now communicate with its deep sea nuclear submarines
Russian defense officials are claiming a successful test of the Ilyushin Il-80 deep-sea communication system, allowing the Russian 'Doomsday' plane to communicate with deep-sea nuclear submarines in the event of a nuclear war.
According to the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti, the Il-80 'Flying Kremlin' successfully communicated with Russian nuclear submarines located deep underwater using ultra-long wave signals, enabling the Russian President to communicate and coordinate Russian military activity in the event of nuclear conflict.
"The Il-80 was tested for communication with strategic missile submarines that are submerged," a Russian official told RIA Novosti. "The aircraft is able to maintain stable communication with the submarine through the water column."
A water column is the water separating the surface of the body of water straight down to a point below the surface, in this case an extended antenna being towed behind the nuclear-capable submarine.
The IL-80 is a modified Il-86, a Soviet-era civilian airliner, first put into service in 1985. Currently, there are four such "doomsday aircraft" in service, according to RIA Novosti.
Russian test of nuclear command and control comes amid heightened tensions with the West
News of the successful test comes at a difficult time for the Russian military. It has suffered considerable setbacks in its invasion and occupation of neighboring Ukraine, including the recent retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, a strategically important location for supplying Russian soldiers on the front lines.
It also comes amid increased saber-rattling around the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, something that has raised varying levels of concern in the West. It could also be coincidental that the test was carried out at this time, as tests like this take some time to plan and set up, so it shouldn't be immediately taken as a provocation on the part of the Russian military.
This is especially true since the Russian military announcement hasn't been publicized as widely or as prominently as other military tests, drills, or manuevers, like missle tests carried out by North Korea or the tit-for-tat US and Chinese naval excercises in the South China Sea and around the island of Taiwan.
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