Expert on rocket Burevestnik: dangerous technology of 40 years ago

The US President Donald trump said that the accident at the military training ground near Severodvinsk 8 Aug occurred during tests of advanced Russian cruise missiles, “Burevestnik” with a nuclear propulsion system, about which Vladimir Putin said in March 2018. In the Kremlin this information did not comment. About the explosion at a military firing range in the Arkhangelsk region, the Russian authorities tell us very little. The communication features of the Kremlin, and the prospects of the latest Russian weapons in the air RFI commented on a French expert, specialist on Russia of the British analytical center of international Affairs Chatham House Mathieu Buleg.

About the explosion at a military firing range in the Arkhangelsk region became known on 8 August. Head of Department of civil protection of administration of Severodvinsk reported an increase of radiation levels of 2 microsieverts per hour (three times higher than the permissible limits). The state Corporation “Rosatom” has confirmed the death of five of its staff in the explosion only two days later. In the Kremlin declined to comment about the incident under the Severodvinsk, even after the statements of the American authorities.

French expert Mathieu Beleg believes that the reticence of the authorities understandable, given the specificity of military development, however, in Western democratic society for a long time to remain silent the government would not be able. “If this had happened in USA or some Western country, like France or the UK, given the top-secret and strategic importance, it is quite normal that all this is shrouded in such mystery,” — said the expert, adding that this silence in the West would be impossible. “In our Western democracies such grey areas still under relative control. Russia’s problem is that, of course, this is not a Western democracy and so the veil of secrecy is part of military culture, today is also political. It all leads to a lot of interpretations, on the background of a very poor official communication from the Russian authorities.”

If the American President is right, and we are talking about a promising rocket “Thunderbird”, it is the missile, which, according to the Kremlin’s plan to ensure the military superiority of Russia, said Mathieu Buleg. “It’s part of a new type of weapons that Vladimir Putin presented in March 2018, providing colorful videos. It’s a kind of “death Star” (from the movie “Star wars — RFI), which aims to demonstrate military power and technical superiority of Russia, — said the expert. Now this accident called into question is the technical superiority. But Russia still loudly declares develop new types of weapons”.

According to French experts, the arms race certainly exists, but Russia with its “Thunderbird” will be very hard to compete. “Now we are in a race supersonic weapons. We are talking about the speed at least five times the speed of sound, and it makes such weapons are immune to existing anti-missile systems, explains Buleg. — Whereas, if we talk about missile developed in Russia, which probably exploded during the tests, it is a subsonic missile. She is a very powerful medium, far exceeding the required for this type of charge power. But its main problem is low speed, below the speed of sound”.

Weapons with a nuclear facility were developed 40 years ago, says Mathieu Buleg. It’s the old technology of the 1970-ies, which was used (at least formally put into service) some nuclear powers, including the US, but very quickly rejected it, because of its extreme danger. “So Russia’s interest in the development of this type of weapons is very limited, given its excessive risk, which was identified 40 years ago, and now we saw proof of this”, — concluded the expert.

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