According to recent foreign media reports, Russia presented a new nuclear missile that can stay in the air for a week.
9M730 Burevestnik: Putin’s latest evidence and claims
Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the successful test of the 9M730 Burevestnik missile. During a Valdai International Debate Club meeting, he highlighted the achievement as a “last success.”
Putin also emphasized that the missile has a “global reach,” reaffirming Russia’s advanced position in the arms race. Additionally, he mentioned the upcoming serial production of the RS-28 Sarmat heavy ICBM.
The US government was aware of these tests, which indirectly confirms that the 9M730 Burevestnik has passed specific evaluations.
US surveillance and testing in the Arctic
According to the New York Times, Russia has set up a particular area in the Arctic for missile tests. This information came to light on October 2, supported by satellite images.
The Moscow Times they were reported on the US military’s close monitoring of the region. In addition, he highlighted sightings of American fighter jets near the test area. As a result, pilots were urged to stay away, designating a part of the Barents Sea as a “temporary danger zone.” There is an information gap regarding the progress and exact results of the test of the new missile.
Background and technical challenges of the missile
Except for the most recent test, previous tests of the Burevestnik were unsuccessful. US intelligence suggests the missile did not travel more than 35 km in its last tests, with a maximum flight time of two minutes. Furthermore, one of the tests was fatal.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not comment on these figures to the press. For a long time, the United States doubted the project’s existence until Russia revealed the assembly workshop for these missiles in February.
The main challenge of the 9M730 Burevestnik lies in its nuclear propulsion system, which presents complications in terms of stability and control. Heat and cooling management issues have caused overheating and failures. Despite its advanced navigation technology, errors have been reported in its guidance system.
Aerodynamic characteristics and challenges of the Burevestnik
This missile has a peculiar aerodynamic configuration that integrates a nuclear-powered ramjet engine. This combination has caused challenges in maneuverability and maintaining stable flight paths. As a result, problems have been identified in the control surfaces and stability systems.
Vladimir Putin and the Russian Defense Ministry have noted similarities in dimensions between the Burevestnik and the Kh-101 cruise missile. In addition, they highlight that the Burevestnik has a small nuclear energy unit.
In an official presentation, its surprising range was displayed, surpassing the Kh-101, and it was demonstrated that its launch is carried out from an inclined launcher using a detachable rocket booster.
Comparatives and technical details of the missile
According to Pavel Ivanov of VPK-news, the cruise missile proportions are 1.5 to 2 times that of the Kh-101. He highlights that the wings of the Burevestnik are located on top of the fuselage, unlike the Kh-101. He also mentions unique bulges, probably caused by the nuclear reactor’s heat.
Ivanov details that the mass of the Burevestnik is considerably greater than that of the Kh-101. This implies that the Tu-160 and Tu-95 would not be suitable carriers for this missile.
A Nezavisimaya Gazeta report describes the Burevestnik as a nuclear thermal rocket with a solid fuel booster motor. At takeoff, it measures 12 m [39 ft] and, in flight, 9 m [30 ft], having an elliptical tip of 1 m [3.3 ft] × 1.5 m [4.9 ft].
Expert assumptions and additional data
Anton Lavrov, an expert in military affairs, suggests in Izvestia that the Burevestnik uses a ramjet engine. Unlike conventional nuclear systems, there is speculation about the possibility that the missile emits radioactive exhaust gases during its operation.
From the geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor, it is hypothesized that the Burevestnik could combine a turbojet engine and a liquid fuel booster.
For his part, the United Kingdom’s Chief of Defense Intelligence [CDI], James Hockenhull, describes the Burevestnik as a “subsonic nuclear-powered cruise missile system” with the capacity to impact globally. He anticipates a “virtually unlimited waiting time,” facilitating attacks from unforeseen angles.