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Hunt for the nuclear “Petrel”

Trump truly can be brave: his country has significantly more advanced rocket technology.

The explosion during tests at the Nenox Russian secret military training ground in the Arkhangelsk region taught the United States a lot. About this, US President Donald Trump wrote on his Twitter.


At the same time, the US president mentioned the name of the future Russian missile, which, according to US intelligence, exploded in tests – “Skyfall”. This is how NATO calls the Burevestnik  (Storm Petrel) nuclear-powered cruise missile, which Vladimir Putin previously announced, as an argument in deterring Washington after unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty.


According to Trump, the United States has “a similar, albeit more advanced technology.” It seems that Russia has yet another competition with its eternal adversary in the field of creating missile weapons. The arms race, which began in this area, is written, in particular, by the American newspaper The New York Times.


As evidence that it is a Burevestnik missile with a nuclear propulsion system, the publication cites a sharp increase in the radiation background in the accident area, and the Serebryanka special sea transport near the landfill intended for the technological maintenance of ships and ships with nuclear power plants. But the main, of course, is the recognition of Rosatom about the death of five of its employees at once in Nenoks that day.


Today, Roshydromet admitted that on August 8, the day of the explosion at the test site, a jump in radioactive radiation was indeed recorded in the region. After a couple of hours, the background radiation returned to normal. We are talking about exceeding the norm 4−16 times.


Meanwhile, in Sarov they mourn the specialists of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center who died in the tests. On August 12, a mourning rally was held there.

  • The best memory for them will be our further work on new models of weapons, which will certainly be brought to an end. We will fulfill the task of the Motherland, its safety will be reliably ensured, – said the head of Rosatom Alexei Likhachev at the rally.


The work on creating the Burevestnik missile is so classified that it is impossible to publish meaningful information without damaging the country’s defense. Nevertheless, the experts of the “joint venture” spoke about the general issues related to the project and the military-political context of what is happening.


The editor-in-chief of the MilitaryRussia.ru portal, Dmitry Kornev, has little doubt that this is a Burevestnik missile.


  • Any nuclear reactor is an isotopic power source. It is based on an energy source that contains a certain radioactive substance – an isotope. So can be called both uranium and plutonium.


– Yes, there are discrepancies in open publications. Rosatom, for example, in its message uses the term “isotopic power sources in a liquid propulsion system”. It doesn’t sound as scary as a “nuclear reactor.” Apparently, there was no panic among the local population.


– This is a kind of verbal casuistry. To hide what is actually happening. Moreover, there is a separate class of isotopic power sources. These are small-sized devices that are used, for example, in medical equipment.


  • Is it possible, on the basis of the available data, to say that the explosion at the training ground is connected with the tests of the Burevestnik?

– It is known about the five dead specialists of Rosatom. In working with conventional isotopic power sources that can be used somewhere in technology, so many Rosatom specialists cannot work. This makes no sense. Most likely, tests were conducted on the engine or on the rocket itself.


Plus, Rosatom says the explosion was on an offshore testing platform. But all this is easily verified. In a few days, commercial images from the space of this area will be available. And it will be possible to see: was or not there an offshore platform?


So far, it is only known that the Rosatom tanker was nearby, from it, apparently, some measurements were carried out. And, in addition, an infrastructure object appeared at the Nenox training ground last year, similar to the one from which the Burevestnik was tested in the form in which Putin showed it in March 2018.


In a word, everything develops. It was almost certainly the Burevestnik.

– Trump also has no doubts about this. He even boasted similar American technology. It seems that we are facing a competition with the United States – who will be the first to commission a nuclear-powered cruise missile?

– The history of the confrontation in this area goes back to the end of the 1950s, when work began on the creation of heavy bombers and cruise missiles with a nuclear power plant both in the USA and the USSR. In the United States, it came to building prototypes of long-range missiles. The United States (heavy B-36 bomber) and ours (modified Tu-95) also had reactors on planes. But then there was a big problem with the radiation protection of the crew and personnel. It was also clear that disasters were inevitable during trials. As a result, in the mid-1960s, in both countries, these programs were phased out.


– Now we have resumed them. Yes, and the United States “are eager for battle.” But can they compete with us?

– Today, the US technological potential in the missile field is not inferior to ours. And maybe – even superior. In the nuclear field, parity is at best.

The achievements that allowed Russia to approach the creation of the Burevestnik rocket and the Poseidon underwater drone, as well as the Peresvet combat laser, are most likely a consequence of the development of the program for creating small-sized energy sources. Which from the 1990s to the 2000s developed in our country and now has achieved success.


Despite the secrecy, it is clear that experts from the nuclear center in Sarov are taking part in this program. Apparently, for the successful completion of this program, the star of the Hero of Russia was received by Sergey Kiriyenko. Therefore, we probably have some groundwork. Another thing is that, if necessary, the United States can catch up with us very quickly. Or even overtake.

I don’t know if it’s good or not that we opened this Pandora’s box.


– America withdrew from the ABM Treaty. Russia had to answer. How effective can a Burevestnik be?

– Everything will rest on the means of detecting these devices. It will inevitably be quite large-sized missiles – larger than most of those for aircraft and submarines. Of course, they can bypass all air defense zones. But the United States is now deploying serious air defense systems on ships that can quickly cover fairly large areas. Plus – the ability to detect targets beyond the horizon of the radar from space.

– The question arises: why are the Americans so sure that the explosion at the test site occurred during the testing of the Burevestnik missile? – surprised military expert Alexei Leonkov said.



– And what do you think?

– Perhaps they obtained this information from Russian-language social networks. Recall how Mrs. Latynina once expressed such an assumption. Then came the information about the radiation background. Then Rosatom announced the death of employees. One thing happened to the other. And overseas decided that it was most likely the “Petrel”.


Despite the fact that the capabilities of species intelligence in this region are very limited today. The efficiency of any reconnaissance satellites due to high cloud cover and forest fires in Siberia is not more than 15–20%. There can be no “eyewitness accounts” here. At this training ground “the fly will not fly.” That is, the conclusions of the American intelligence community are not based on anything.

Therefore, Trump’s statement must be understood as misinterpreted information presented to him by their intelligence community.


– However, the question is too serious. The US president claims that his country has similar technologies. So, this poses a threat to Russia.


– Indeed, during the rivalry between the USSR and the USA, both sides stormed the technology of creating nuclear engines for air and space. By the way, we got exactly space nuclear engines. And now our satellite reconnaissance and target designation group flies on such engines. Due to this, the duration of their stay in space has increased significantly.

With an air engine then we did not succeed. But now, with new technologies, it turned out. On such an engine, the Burevestinik flew, as already reported.


– Let’s talk about “Burevestinik” in more detail. Why should Americans be afraid of it?

– This is a large cruise missile of unlimited range due to the fact that it has a nuclear air engine. It can go around enemy air defense areas, but so far – only at subsonic speeds. By virtue of these features, it is a weapon of retaliation.

– Please explain.

  • Imagine a rocket flying at a speed of 900 kilometers per hour. How long will it fly to the continental United States? A very long time. Therefore, to use it at the beginning of the conflict is pointless. It will be detected by enemy air defense. Which, incidentally, is what the Americans say.


Therefore, it makes sense to use it only after the main nuclear complexes: mine, sea and mobile based have already worked out for the enemy.


– So there will already be a desert.


– Even after the massive use of nuclear weapons, some military structures of the enemy will surely remain combat-ready. Yes, they will operate in special conditions, with the use of special protection. But they will be able to continue to fight.


And for these purposes the weapon of retaliation will work. On the coast – underwater drones “Poseidon”. In the depths of enemy territory – “Burevestnik”. This guarantees the total destruction of the aggressor country.

– And this prospect should be a deterrent to the “adversary”?

– Of course! In Soviet times, this worked great. And when we brought our technologies for creating thermonuclear weapons and the development of ballistic missiles to perfection (even launched ICBMs into orbit), the United States began “detente.” Frightened that sooner or later something might happen. They have enough crazy people. Recall how the Secretary of Defense of the United States, James Forrestal, came out the window in 1949 shouting “Russians are coming!”


And at this time.

According to the information of the Arkhangelsk news agency Belomorkanal, the military warned the residents of the village of Nenoksa that on August 14 from 5 to 7 am they should all leave their homes. For this, a special train will take them away from the Nenoksa station while they are working at the training ground. Commentators suggest that the military plans to continue testing weapons.


And the publication “Dvina Today” reports that ten doctors flew out from Arkhangelsk to Moscow at night, who provided first aid to the victims of the explosion at the Nenoksa training ground. According to the source of the publication, doctors arrived in the area of ​​the Shchukinskaya metro station, where medical centers for the investigation of the consequences of oncological and biophysical diseases are located. In particular, there is a clinic of the Federal Medical Biophysical Center of A. I. Burnazyan, where the victims of the accident were previously delivered.


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