WASHINGTON, (BM) – US journalists from the CNN claim that the Russian Federation has already abolished the “pause” regime of its nuclear cruise missile 9M730 Burevestnik [Petrel, NATO reporting name: SSC-X-9 Skyfall – ed.] and is preparing to continue with the experiments on the spot near the Arctic Circle, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The claims of colleagues from the United States are supported by satellite images, which clearly show the movement in a region that was “frozen” in 2018, and very recently the activity in this region has increased many times. The photos were taken and provided in September this year by Planet Labs.
The “revival” was spotted by Michael Duitsman and Jeffrey Lewis, who work at the Middlebury Institute, and their report claims that the Russians have resumed work on the site from which one of the world’s most dangerous weapons will have to be fired. The two researchers noticed a large number of transport containers, as well as a newly built building, which is supposed to control the launch and flight of the rocket.
The U.S. military, as well as defense and security analysts, have repeatedly said in recent months that Russia continues to test its new weapons, including Russian hypersonic missiles and nuclear-powered missiles. It should be recalled that according to publicly available information, Russia has made at least one attempt in the past on the same missile, which was unsuccessful and may have been conducted in late 2017.
Russia’s actions to restart the project could prove to be a “catalyst” to change Washington’s position on the START agreement in a way that the Trump administration agrees to key demands from Russia. This was stated in a message last Friday by US negotiator Marshall Billingsley, who uses Twitter and said that the talks are currently at a dead end.
One of Russia’s key demands is, in general, “We agree to freeze our nuclear capabilities unless the United States makes other demands.” In reality, the key lies in the remark “other demands” that may tie the hands of American policy in the future in regions that Russia would like to continue to control, or on projects that it would prefer to continue to develop.
US President Donald Trump wants the talks to end and the nuclear deal to be reached, but only before the upcoming presidential election. Whether it will happen or not – it depends on the negotiators, but Washington is already suffering the first losses from the negotiations – China shows no intention to join the treaty, and the specific nuclear missile Petrel is not covered by the treaty. In this way, the actual nuclear race can continue, even with an agreement, but with other parameters.
The main problem, according to experts, is that intercontinental ballistic missiles that Russia can launch using nuclear fuel can fly in low orbit and thus escape from radar, which would put the US defense at this stage, as well as other countries in great danger.
That is why it is important to reach an agreement on limiting nuclear weapons, the framework of which was drawn up 50 years ago. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, something will happen that has been seen in the past – a fierce nuclear arms race. The problem is that with new technologies nowadays it is not known who will do what, how fast and whether they will be able to master it.
The Americans call the Russian idea of putting an unprotected nuclear reactor in a missile to feed and move it “crazy.” What if something goes wrong? Can anyone calculate the consequences. It was the incident in 2019, when five nuclear experts were killed at a test site in northern Russia, that is of concern to everyone, as some analysts say Russia was testing a nuclear cruise missile at the time, and the accident was the result of a failed attempt.
What does Burevestnik 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. 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 Burevestnik
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.
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.
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