- Yes it is very possible that it was engine testing, but the engine could not be for Burevestnik.
- Skif requires maintenance every three years, but can easily stay near an adversary's shore for a year and then move to a new location-- like a chess strategy.
- It would be prudent for the West to take a closer look at Russia’s defense appetite.
The latest tragedy was an explosion at the Nenoksa Missile Test Site near Severodvink, a region in northern Russia. Indeed, as many as fifteen may have been harmed in the accident, seven died. A clear notice was issued to ships that they could not enter a 250-square kilometer area close to the accident. The innuendos followed in the Western media and experts put forth theories around it is being Burevestnik, claiming the explosion is due to the testing of a nuclear powered cruise missile. According to NATO the classification is SSC X-9 Skyfall (Russian classification 9M730-Burevestnik).
However, closer analysis, continued reports of the area being evacuated, the spike in radiation, release of radionuclides in the atmosphere, and an emerging pattern suggests otherwise. Russia is very good at keeping its secrets and it would be too easy for Putin to allow the narrative to circulate about rocket testing using the liquid jet fuel engine. The Kremlin used a false Burevestnik accident narrative to support a larger scale operation.
The clue is the elite scientists dying and radiation suits. Notably, The Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, an organization that spends a lot of its time keeping track of undisclosed Russian radiation hazards, said their monitoring stations detected no such increase and neither did European or Russian stations to which the agency has access. Gamma rays travel like electromagnetic waves– cutting a fairly straight line through the world. They can move through a vacuum, or through air or water. They can also cut through light elements like aluminum or most metals. In this case it did move through water and that is why originally it was not detected by the aforementioned entities. The majority of the nuclear agencies prefer to measure the amount of radiation absorbed in sieverts.
Yes it is very possible that it was engine testing, but the engine could not be for Burevestnik. Not with the pattern of naval involvement, how the radiation spread and the direction of it. The location and traits are inline with a Skif missile.
This is an underwater ballistic missile. Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering in partnership with Makeev State Rocket Center is responsible for the design. The Skif would be the most plausible explanation, which can be fired from the seabed and in a delayed start. The Sarov submarine was specifically designed for Skif. It has a unique front area to allow for the compensation of weight after missile delivery and to maintain balance.
The Status-6 (Poseidon) could be used in conjunction. It is also designed by the Rubin Design studio. It is unmanned and capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads. The strategic location of this vehicle could be in the White Sea in the future.
The UN has the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans. It establishes guidelines for businesses and the environment. The Kremlin would be in direct violation if in fact such testing took place. From the analysis of the Convention, there could be a loophole for Russia under Section 2, Article 4.
Skif can be located closer to an adversary’s shores. Skif requires maintenance every three years, but can easily stay near an adversary’s shore for a year and then move to a new location– like a chess strategy.
The US government already has a list of sanctions under “Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries of Sanctions Act 2017.” Rubin Central Design Bureau is not on the list as of yet. Here’s the full list.
Additionally, Russia has been working on underwater cables. The costs are exorbitant, but in theory Russia could have 10 small bunkers spread around, each 12 miles apart, a pair of cables coming from each, and one of the bunker cables connected to the launch system of Skif. The location would be close to 1,600 feet deep.
In conclusion, it would be prudent for the West to take a closer look at Russia’s defense appetite. It could be that “Losharik” was used to aide in the location finding for the cable installation for Skif. Could both tragedies be interconnected to the same classified project?