Russia has successfully tested a new generation of nuclear-powered cruise missile, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
The “last successful test of the Burevestnik, a global-range cruise missile with a nuclear installation, a nuclear propulsion system, has been conducted,” state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Putin as saying at the Valdai Discussion Club forum in the southern Russian city of Sochi.
Some background: Putin announced the program to develop the Burevestnik in March 2018 as part of a broader initiative to develop a new generation of intercontinental and hypersonic missiles. Others included the Kinzhal ballistic missile and the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle.
Putin told the country’s Federal Assembly that missiles like the Burevestnik would help ensure a strategic balance in the world for decades to come.
“It is a low-flying stealth missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with almost unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception boundaries,” Putin said at the time.
Reported failures: However, Western analysts say the program has since run into trouble, with a number of failed tests. In 2019, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an open source analytical group, said “there is a consensus in the press, with purported agreement from U.S. intelligence services, that the Burevestnik has been tested 13 times, with two partial successes.”
Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov described the Burevestnik as a weapon of retaliation, which Russia would use after intercontinental ballistic missiles to fully destroy military and civilian infrastructure and leave no chance of survival, according to the analytical group.