The test missile “Thunderbird”Picture: Russian Ministry of defense / RIA Novosti
U.S. intelligence found that Russia has been testing cruise missiles with a nuclear engine, “Thunderbird” at least five times, but none of them was successful. It is reported by CNBC, citing sources in the intelligence agencies of the country.
The interlocutor of the edition told that the test launch of the missile took place in the period from November 2017 to February 2018. Another launch was held in the year 2019. They all ended in crashes.
According to the source, the longest flight lasted for about two minutes. The rocket flew 22 miles (just over 35 kilometers), after which control over it was lost, it crashed. The shortest start-up lasted about four seconds.
US intelligence suggests that Russia has accelerated the work on the “Petrel” and intends to bring the missiles operational by 2025.
On 8 August, a military site near Severodvinsk, an explosion occurred. American intelligence agencies believe that it happened while trying to lift a rocket “Thunderbird” from the bottom of the sea, which formerly fell into the water during a failed test.
According to official information, the accident occurred during testing of liquid rocket propulsion systems isotope power sources. Then killed five employees of “Rosatom” and two representatives of the Ministry of defense. After the explosion, the latter reported on excess of dose rate of gamma radiation in 4-16 times in six of the eight points of Severodvinsk, soon, however, these values began to decrease. According to the independent expert in the nuclear industry, the head of “Atominfo” Alexander Uvarov, short-time radiation levels after the incident did not pose a danger to local residents.
Video, photo All from Russia.