The US received credible intelligence indicating that Russia is at least five times has been testing cruise missiles “Petrel” with nuclear power, and all these launches ended with the accident.
All tests of the missile were carried out from 2017. The longest flight lasted only about two minutes, the rocket flew 22 kilometers, after which the control was lost and she collapsed. And the shortest flight of the “wonder weapons”, announced Russian President Vladimir Putin in the message to the Federal Assembly in 2018, lasted about four seconds, reports CNBC, citing sources familiar with the us intelligence report. Tests showed that the core of a cruise missile with a nuclear engine could not be activated, so the rocket was not able to reach the level of “perpetual flight”, which Putin said.
However, despite the failed test, Russian missile with a so-called unlimited range will be ready within the next six years. According to U.S. intelligence, Russia intends to accelerate work on the project “Burevestnik” (according to NATO classification – Skyfall) that the new missiles were “ready for war” by 2025.
Russian President Vladimir Putin first mentioned “Thunderbird” in the message to the Federal Assembly in March 2018. He described it as low flying stealth cruise missile that carries a nuclear warhead, has an unlimited range and “unpredictable” flight path. According to Putin, all of this makes “puffin” invulnerable “to all existing and future missile defense systems and air defense”.
Of these characteristics, the experts concluded that the engine of this rocket contains a small nuclear reactor. As “nuclear batteries” will not be enough to provide rocket “unlimited radius” – if we assume that “unlimited” refers to the ability of a missile to stay in the air for days.
CNBC in August last year, reported that the missile “Petrel” was tested repeatedly on the Central range on Novaya Zemlya and Kapustin Yar. According to the portal, from November 2017 to February 2018 was conducted four tests and they all failed. The Russian military allegedly tried to find one of those rockets that had fallen in the Barents sea.
And in August of this year, CNBC’s sources said that an explosion in a military sea range in Nenoksa under the Severodvinsk, which occurred on 8 August, occurred during a lifting operation “Petrel” from the bottom after the test.
The defense Ministry then officially confirmed only that the blast, which killed five employees of the Sarov nuclear centre (Russian Federal nuclear center, RFNC-VNIIEF) occurred when testing a liquid rocket engine, while not specifying what missiles he designed. In the state Corporation “Rosatom” said that the incident occurred during the “work associated with engineering support of isotopic power sources for liquid propulsion system”. After the accident in Severodvinsk recorded a short-term increase in background radiation.
However, on August 12, the newspaper The New York Times, citing US intelligence reported that the employees of the Sarov nuclear center was lost in the Arkhangelsk region during testing of a cruise missile with a nuclear power plant “Burevestnik”.
A few days later the President of the United States Donald trump in his Twitter bluntly pointed out that the rocket exploded “Petrel” – one of the samples of the Russian “wonder weapon”, which was presented in the spring of 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Later it turned out that Russia was disconnected from the International monitoring system for nuclear tests within its territory radionuclide stations – these stations, according to officials of the International system, could fix the composition of the isotopes contained in the cloud emission. The composition could be determined, in particular, were used in the development of a nuclear reactor.
On August 26 the isotopic composition of the emissions was published by the Roshydromet. According to the service in the cloud present a short-lived (i.e., rapidly decaying) radioactive isotopes strontium-91 and barium-139 and 140 and lanthanum-140. This suggests that the crash was preceded by a fission chain reaction, which means it almost certainly involved a nuclear reactor. Data of Roshydromet fit the version of explosion of a rocket with nuclear engines of the “Petrel”.
According to September 3, the level of radiation around the two pontoons thrown on the shore of the White sea near the village of nyonoksa after testing the Thunderbird several times higher than normal. Background radiation 150 metres from the pontoons reached 154 µr / h. And on the pontoons without adequate protection to measure the level of radiation either then or now is not the time – he rolls over. Netaccelerator pontoons lie on the beach and freely washed by the water of the White sea. No fences, guards and signs warning of the danger around me.