'Putin's Skyfall cruise missile .. a flying Chernobyl.'

Posted by ProjectC 
'But Pluto, it seems, has risen again, this time in a Russian incarnation - a nuclear-powered Frankenstein, a flying Chernobyl.'

'Washington: Last week, Vladimir Putin's government cryptically announced that there had been an explosion at a missile test centre in remote northern Russia that involved the release of radioactive materials. Initially, two people were said to have been killed; the death toll was subsequently raised to seven. A nearby village was ordered evacuated, then the villagers were told to stay put.

US analysts think the accident involved the prototype of a nuclear-powered cruise missile that the Russians call Burevestnik, or Petrel, but is known in the West by its NATO designation, Skyfall..


..these "new" missiles are a throwback to the early days of the Cold War. And back then, it was the United States that developed a nuclear-powered cruise missile, in the early 1960s.

"Project Pluto" was part of a Pentagon program known as Supersonic Low Altitude Missile, a clunky name almost certainly designed to yield its catchier acronym, SLAM. The missile was cancelled in 1964, never having taken flight. Nuclear-powered cruise missiles were not a good idea then, and they are not a good idea now.


..Where do you test a flying nuclear reactor? Livermore physicists initially proposed that Pluto be flown in a figure-eight pattern over the remote Pacific, prompting one to ask: "How are you going to convince people that it is not going to get away and run at low level through Las Vegas - or even Los Angeles?"

Ultimately, in the United States, cooler heads prevailed. Six weeks after the successful static test of Livermore's nuclear engine in Nevada in July 1964, the Pentagon pulled the plug on Pluto.

Intercontinental-range ballistic missiles promised to destroy targets in the Soviet Union well before Pluto got to them, with equal certainty and a lot fewer associated risks. SLAM, its critics said, stood for "slow, low and messy."

But Pluto, it seems, has risen again, this time in a Russian incarnation - a nuclear-powered Frankenstein, a flying Chernobyl.

Putin's Skyfall cruise missile also has a seagoing sibling: a giant nuclear-powered torpedo, dubbed Poseidon, designed to destroy US port cities with a multi-megaton blast.

Poseidon bears a striking resemblance to the idea that Russia's Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Andrei Sakharov, came up with in the early 1960s. When Sakharov told a Soviet admiral of his proposal, however, the latter was "shocked and disgusted by the idea of merciless mass slaughter."

Feeling "utterly abashed," the physicist abandoned the concept and never raised it again. "I'm no longer worried that someone may pick up on the idea," Sakharov wrote in his memoirs, published in 1990. "It doesn't fit in with current military doctrines, and it would be foolish to spend the extravagant sums required."

Plainly, times have changed. Yet as several experts have since noted, it is also possible that Putin's amazing new weapons are only part of a propaganda campaign, a response to plans announced by the Trump administration to expand and modernise America's nuclear arsenal.'

- Gregg Herken, Russia's mysterious 'new' nuclear weapon a 'flying Chernobyl', August 16, 2019


'..Moscow and Beijing are single-minded in their identification of democracy as a threat to their oppressive regimes..'

'Russia, is kind of a criminal haven .. [but Russia] wants to get out of this world..'

'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions..' - '..need to “dismantle” spying networks and prevent other illegal activities by Russia..'