MOSCOW, March 23 (UPI) -- Russia is likely to place more emphasis on lighter attack submarines armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles in the future, military officials say.
With advances in the range and sophistication of tactical nuclear arms, Russian military leaders say low-yield nuclear warheads attached to cruise missiles fired from attack submarines make more sense than loading powerful bombs onto bigger strategic submarines, RIA Novosti reported.
"Probably, tactical nuclear weapons (on submarines) will play a key role in the future," Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy head of the Russian navy general staff, told the news service. "Their range and precision are gradually increasing."
Burtsev added: "There is no longer any need to equip missiles with powerful nuclear warheads. We can install low-yield warheads on existing cruise missiles."
An example of the kind of equipment to be favored in the future is the new Severodvinsk nuclear-powered attack submarine, to be commissioned in 2010-11, Burtsev said. It reportedly has the ability to launch long-range cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, and can also battle hostile submarines and surface warships.