The Russian Navy is set to be equipped with a new generation of hypersonic nuclear strike weapons and underwater nuclear drones.

The Poseidon underwater nuclear drone is 70ft long and 6.5ft wide and can move at up to 80mph underwater. It can be carried externally by submarines or internally by special carrier submarines.

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The weapons are capable of crossing continents to reach their target and can dive to a depth of 3,280ft, making them difficult to track and intercept.

Capable of travelling at over five times the speed of sound, the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile is designed to be deployed on surface ships.

The missile, which combines manoeuvrability, speed, and altitude, cannot be tracked and intercepted, reported Reuters.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD), these weapons are undergoing the final phase of testing.

At the recent annual naval parade in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the navy is expected to receive an additional 40 new vessels this year.

Putin added: “The widespread deployment of advanced digital technologies that have no equals in the world, including hypersonic strike systems and underwater drones, will give the fleet unique advantages and increased combat capabilities.”

In a separate development, the defence ministry stated that the testing of submarine Belgorod is underway.

Belgorod is claimed to be the first submarine equipped to carry Poseidon drones.

Testing of these weapons systems is nearing completion, according to the ministry.

In May this year, the Russian Navy accepted delivery of the strategic ballistic missile carrier submarine Knyaz Vladimir from the Sevmash shipyard.

Laid down at Sevmash in 2012, the vessel delivered is the improved Borei-A class project of the fourth-generation nuclear submarines.