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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Submariners fired an Incomplete Program


An outdated missile crashed during the Thunder-2019 strategic nuclear exercises

October 21, 00:32 Ivan Safronov / Vedomosti

During the Thunder-2019 strategic command-and-staff exercise, the final stage of which was personally led by Russian President Vladimir Putin, an emergency occurred, two people close to the Defense Ministry told Vedomosti. The nuclear submarine K-44 Ryazan, which is part of the 25th division of Pacific Fleet submarines, carried out on October 17 only one launch of the R-29R intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Chizh range, and not two, as announced at a briefing October 14, Acting Head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation Evgeni Ilyin. The second R-29R did not leave the silo launcher, and the submarine returned to its permanent base with an un-fired missile.

An emergency could occur due to the failure of some submarine systems through which the launch team passes, one of the interlocutors believes. The exact reasons to be found out by a special commission from representatives of the command of the Pacific Fleet, the General Staff of the Navy and the defense industry. The Defense Ministry on Friday did not respond to a request from Vedomosti.

The R-29R missile is part of the D-9R complex, which was installed on the submarines of Project 667BDR Kalmar back in Soviet times. The Ryazan is the last submarine of this type on alert: all of its predecessors are either already disposed of or are awaiting disposal. At the time of its adoption in 1977, the R-29R made a revolution in military rocket science: it was the world's first sea-based ICBM, equipped with a multiple warhead with individual guidance of warheads. Now the main liquid marine missile is the advanced Sineva, mass-produced at the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant and installed on Project 667BDRM boats. The P-29R launches during the exercises were necessary to extend their resource, which is already practically exhausted, says the person,

These missiles have been in service for more than 40 years, you don't have to wait for a 100% result from the obsolete ICBMs, said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine: "Even when extending the life of newer strategic products, misfires occur.”

During the Thunder-2019 exercise, the military intended to verify the coherence of operations in the use of strategic nuclear forces. For this, about 12,000 military personnel, 213 missile launchers of the Strategic Missile Forces, more than 100 aircraft (including five strategic bombers), up to 15 surface ships and five submarines were involved. For three days, 16 practical launches of cruise and ballistic missiles were carried out. Particular attention was paid to ICBM launches: the RS-24 Yars mobile missile system launched on the Plesetsk – Kura highway, and the K-18 Karelia nuclear missile carrier fired from the Barents Sea with the R-29RMU2 Sineva missile. Both launches went as normal, says a person close to the Ministry of Defense.


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