Russia tested a low-flying and barely noticeable nuclear-powered cruise missile

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MOSCOW, (BM) – SSX-C-9 Skyfall, a Russian cruise missile with a nuclear power plant, better known as the Petrel, passed a series of tests at one of the test sites in northwestern Russia, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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This is evidenced by an article by Popular Mechanics, which reports that the iodine-131 isotopes detected in the air are of artificial origin, and taking into account the wind map, the tests were most likely conducted in the Arkhangelsk region, where the test site is located.

“Officials in Finland, Norway and Sweden have discovered artificial radionuclides, that is, radionuclides that are not found in nature. Iodine-131 was detected at air monitoring stations in Svanhovd and Wikshofjell, Norway, as well as at a nuclear weapons monitoring facility in Svalbard” the article’s author said.

“An analysis by the Dutch National Institute of Public Health indicates that the source of radiation is the western part of Russia. Authorities believe that the leak, first discovered in early June, comes from western Russia. One version is that the test is somehow related to a new cruise missile with a nuclear installation,” the author also said.

On the presented map of the detection of Iodine-131 isotopes, it can be seen, taking into account the direction of the winds, that most of the radioactive fallout was detected over Russia, Finland, the Baltic States, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, the Russian side has not yet confirmed the tests and any connection with the release of radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

What is Petrel crusie missile

“A low-flying, barely noticeable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable flight path and the ability to bypass intercepting lines is invulnerable to all existing and promising missile defense and air defense systems. This is just fantastic. Nobody in the world has anything like it yet.”

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Burevestnik (9M730) [Petrel – ed.] is a Russian intercontinental cruise missile equipped with a nuclear power plant, possessing an unlimited flight range, and capable of evading enemy interceptors.

It is with the “Petrel” that some experts attribute the explosion at the Nenox military training ground near Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Region, on August 8, 2019.

In March 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a message to the Federal Assembly, demonstrated samples of new weapons, among which was a “global-range cruise missile with a nuclear power plant”.

“A low-flying, barely noticeable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable flight path and the ability to bypass intercepting lines is invulnerable to all existing and promising missile defense and air defense systems. This is just fantastic. No one in the world has anything like it yet,” Putin assured. The foreign press immediately started talking about “Putin’s nuclear superweapon.”

After some time, the Ministry of Defense on the site invited the Russians to choose a name for the new cruise missile. According to the results of the vote, the rocket received the name “Petrel”.

According to official figures from the Department of Defense, the development of the Petrel was launched in 2001 after the United States withdrew from the 1972 ABM Treaty in December 2001 as a response to the creation of the US global missile defense system.

What does Petrel look like?

In July 2018, the Ministry of Defense showed videos from the cruise missile production workshop. Red-colored rockets are visible on the frames (for contrast when shooting tests). They are housed in metal containers.

The Petrel has the angular shape of the bow and fuselage, which helps to reduce the radar visibility of the cruise missile.

Judging by the video from the production workshop, the length of the 9M730 cruise missile is about 9-11 m.

Read more: Russia Will Necessarily Respond to the US New Cruise Missile Test, Kremlin Spokesman Said

A distinctive feature of the “Petrel” is the location of the wings. They are located at the top of the rocket, which is explained by the principle of its operation.

The principle of work “Petrel”

There is still no clear understanding of exactly how the propulsion system of the Petrel is arranged. There is only a version that it is a gas-phase nuclear rocket engine with a working fluid from atmospheric air, writes “N+1”.

Simply put, we are talking about a small reactor, a controlled chain reaction of which heats the air passing through the air intake and pushed out of the nozzle. At the same time, the same air acts as a cooling element of the reactor. Therefore, such a rocket can “exist” only during flight at high speed, without cooling it will immediately begin to melt the reactor.

Most likely, Burevestnik has a solid-fuel engine to accelerate the rocket, after which, at a certain speed, the reactor is activated, nuclear technology expert Valentin Gibalov and military expert Alexander Golts explained on Radio Liberty.

The world community has actively discussed how strongly such a propulsion system will pollute the atmosphere. Presumably, the Burevestnik has a closed reactor in which the air does not directly contact the reactor core, which means that the radioactive trail from such a rocket will be very small.

Military expert at Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine Alexei Leonkov calls the Petrel a weapon of retaliation.

“Weapons that will be used after intercontinental ballistic missile warheads” work out ” on the territory of the aggressor. “Petrels” will complete the rout of all objects of the military and civilian infrastructure of the aggressor country, leaving her no chance of survival” Leonkov writes in Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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In addition, “Petrel” probably has a navigation system at extreme points in the terrain. The product’s memory contains images of terrain objects on the flight route. At a certain time, the rocket makes a “jump” to a height of several hundred meters and “inspects” the terrain. Then the navigation system compares the “seen” with the standard laid down, write “Izvestia”.

Thanks to the correction system for extreme points of the terrain, Petrel can go around obstacles.

What exploded in Severodvinsk?

On August 8, 2019, at the Nenoks training ground near Severodvinsk, a rocket propulsion system of a liquid rocket exploded during tests, the Ministry of Defense said.

Rosatom reported that five employees of the state corporation became victims of the incident.

The administration of Severodvinsk noted that a short-term increase in the radiation background was recorded. In turn, the Ministry of Defense insists that there were no harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and the radiation background remained normal.

What exactly exploded, the Ministry of Defense and Rosatom did not specify.

Nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis on Twitter drew public attention to satellite images showing that the specialized vessel Serebryanka, which collects and stores liquid radioactive waste, is located near the site of the explosion.

Lewis believes that Serebryanka appeared in the area due to tests of a Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.

The same version was voiced by US President Donald Trump. “The explosion caused many to worry about air pollution in the test area and at a great distance from them. This is not good,” Trump tweeted.

Colleagues of those killed near Severodvinsk said that an accident occurred during a test launch of a rocket. Immediately after starting from the offshore platform, the engine failed and the rocket fell into the sea. She was removed from the bottom to study the causes of a possible failure. At that moment, when it was above the surface, an explosion occurred, writes Baza.

Read more: US Sending a Message in Western Pacific with a New Cruise Missile, Difficult to Spot on Radars

On September 11, CNBC, citing American intelligence sources, reported that the explosion in the Arkhangelsk region did not occur during new missile tests, but during an operation to lift a missile that drowned during previous tests.

The same version is put forward by Radio Liberty based on messages from local residents on social networks. There is no official confirmation that the Petrel exploded near Severodvinsk.

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