Russian President Vladimir Putin recently announced the successful testing of a new nuclear-powered missile called “Burevestnik” during a speech that covered various topics, including nuclear weapons and international relations. This missile, known as “Storm Petrel,” has raised concerns and questions about its capabilities and reliability.
Burevestnik Missile Details
- NATO refers to the Burevestnik missile as “Skyfall,” and it has been met with skepticism by Western experts.
- President Putin first mentioned this missile in 2018, highlighting its significance in Russia’s military arsenal.
- The Burevestnik is a ground-launched, low-flying cruise missile with the capability to carry a nuclear warhead.
- What sets it apart is its nuclear propulsion, which allows it to remain airborne for an extended period and cover vast distances.
- The International Institute for Strategic Studies suggested in 2021 that the Burevestnik missile could have a theoretical range of up to 20,000 kilometers, making it capable of striking targets in the United States from various locations in Russia.
- Additionally, the missile operates at a low altitude (50-100 meters), making it challenging for air-defense radar systems to detect.
- The United States Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center in 2020 recognized the missile’s potential, stating that if deployed, it would provide Russia with a “unique weapon with intercontinental-range capability.”
- The development of the Burevestnik missile has been a challenging endeavor for Russian nuclear scientists.
- There have been reported failures during tests, with a notable incident in 2019 involving an explosion and radiation leak during an experiment in the White Sea, resulting in the loss of five Russian nuclear specialists.
- Experts have raised questions about the missile’s reliability and its timeline for deployment. Some estimates suggest it could be a decade before it becomes operational.