9M730 Burevestnik

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9M730 Burevestnik
TypeNuclear-powered cruise missile
Place of originRussia
Service history
Used byRussia
Specifications
Maximum firing rangeVirtually unlimited
WarheadThermonuclear
Satellite imagery of the launch site

The 9M730 Burevestnik (Russian: Буревестник; "Petrel", NATO reporting name: SSC-X-9 Skyfall)[1][2] is a Russian experimental nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed cruise missile under development for the Russian Armed Forces. The missile is claimed to have virtually unlimited range.[3]

The Burevestnik is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018.[2][4]

External video
Nuclear-powered cruise missile with unlimited range on YouTube
"Burevestnik" cruise missile in a manufacturing plant on YouTube

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The Soviet Union and later Russia have been uncertain since the 1980s to what extent their ICBM nuclear arsenal is nullified by the United States' anti-ballistic missile system Strategic Defense Initiative,[5] proposed during the Reagan Administration and commonly known as the Star Wars program.[6] This type of weapon flies under the ballistic weapon shield and is part of President Putin's broader program to attempt to re-balance his nuclear strike capability.[7]

Development[edit]

The Russian defense industry began developing an intercontinental-range nuclear-powered cruise missile capable of penetrating any interceptor-based missile defense system. It is said to have unlimited range and ability to dodge missile defenses.[3] The name of the weapon was chosen by the unusual route of a public vote.[8] A major stage of trials of the cruise missile of the Burevestnik complex, the tests of the nuclear power unit, were successfully completed in January 2019.[9]

Nyonoksa radiation accident[edit]

On 9 August 2019, the Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom confirmed a release of radiation at the State Central Navy Testing Range at Nyonoksa near Severodvinsk in northern Russia and stated it was linked to an accident involving the test of an "isotope power source for a liquid-fuelled rocket engine".[10][11] Nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis and Federation of American Scientists fellow Ankit Panda suspect the incident resulted from a test of the Burevestnik cruise missile.[12] However, the researcher Michael Kofman, Fellow at the Wilson Center disputed the assertions, and believes the explosion was probably not related to Burevestnik.[13] Five weapons scientists were killed in the accident.[14][15]

On 26 August, Aleksei Karpov, Russia's envoy to international organizations in Vienna, stated that the accident was linked to the development of weapons which Russia had to begin creating as "one of the tit-for-tat measures in the wake of the United States' withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty".[16]

On 10 October, Thomas DiNanno, member of the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly First Committee, stated that the "August 8th 'Skyfall' incident [...] was the result of a nuclear reaction that occurred during the recovery of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile", which "remained on the bed of the White Sea since its failed test early last year".[17]

Operators[edit]

 Russia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Panda, Ankit [@nktpnd] (20 November 2018). "Update from a source: Russia's Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile has a NATO designator – SSC-X-9 SKYFALL. (USIC also calls this missile the KY30.)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b "Russian nuclear engineers buried after 'Skyfall nuclear' blast". Al Jazeera. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b Lendon, Brad (20 July 2018). "Russia shows off new weapons after Trump summit". CNN. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  4. ^ Gady, Franz-Stefan (2 March 2018). "Russia Reveals 'Unstoppable' Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  5. ^ "Reagan's Star Wars". Cold War: A Brief History. Retrieved 2019-09-26 – via Atomic Archive.
  6. ^ Lambeth, Benjamin S.; Lewis, Kevin (Spring 1988). "The Kremlin and SDI". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  7. ^ Roblin, Sebastien (18 August 2019). "Russia's Nuclear-Powered 'Skyfall' Missile with Unlimited Range: A Doomsday Weapon?". The National Interest. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  8. ^ Osborn, Andrew (23 March 2018). "Russia names Putin's new 'super weapons' after a quirky public vote". Reuters. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  9. ^ "Tests of Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile successfully completed, says source". TASS. 16 February 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  10. ^ Roth, Andrew (10 August 2019). "Russian nuclear agency confirms role in rocket test explosion". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  11. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (10 August 2019). "Russia Confirms Radioactive Materials Were Involved in Deadly Blast". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  12. ^ Landay, Jonathan (10 August 2019). "U.S.-based experts suspect Russia blast involved nuclear-powered missile". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2019-08-11. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  13. ^ Kofman, Michael (15 August 2019). "Mystery explosion at Nenoksa test site: it's probably not Burevestnik". Russia Military Analysis. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  14. ^ "Russia's top nuclear official says work on new weapons will continue". Press TV. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  15. ^ "Russian scientists killed in missile test explosion were working on 'new weapons'". The Defense Post. 12 August 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  16. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (26 August 2019). "Russia Identifies 4 Radioactive Isotopes From Nuclear Accident". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  17. ^ "2019 UN General Assembly First Committee of the United States of America General Debate Statement by Thomas G. DiNanno" (PDF). statements.unmeetings.org. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.

External links[edit]