“Burevestnik” (GRAU – 9M730, NATO code – SSC-X-9 Skyfall, “Nebad”), a promising nuclear-powered Russian intercontinental cruise missile.
For the first time, the appearance of this missile weapon was announced by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in a message to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018. During the report of the Russian president, the video frames of the complex were shown missile test.
On March 22, 2018 the cruise missile was named – “Petrel” – according to the results of an open vote on the website of the Ministry of Defense of Russia.

According to statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin and materials from the Russian Ministry of Defense, it is known that the size of the missile is comparable to the X-101 cruise missile and is equipped with a small nuclear power plant. The declared flight radius is ten times greater than the flight range X-101. In the official presentation frames, the rocket starts from a tilted launcher using accelerators.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the rocket start engine is a solid fuel and the main engine is a nuclear rocket. Dimensions: length at the beginning – 12 m, in flight – 9 m, the hull in the frontal projection has the shape of an ellipse 1 × 1.5 m.


Nuclear propulsion
Jeff Terry, a professor of physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, using the analogies of Tomahawk cruise missiles, estimated the actual (non-thermal) power of the Petrel engine at around 766 kW. From this, he concludes that this fits well with the potential capacity range of the modern compact nuclear reactor.
An open type gas turbine is used at Burevestnik and a closed type gas turbine is used at Poseidon in the same reactor, where the spent and cooled gas is returned to the reactor.


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Performance characteristics
According to TASS, the missile of the complex is subsonic.
The flight path of a cruise missile, taking into account long autonomy, according to the developers, offers the opportunity to overcome the boundaries of air defense and missile defense.

The decision to start development of the Petrel was taken in December 2001, after the United States withdrew from the 1972 anti-missile defense treaty. According to the Kommersant newspaper, the cruise missile manufacturer is the Ekaterinburg Design Bureau Novator, with involvement of specialists from the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov.
The site of a rocket launch in the American satellite image according to The Diplomat.
For the first time, the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin announced the progress of the missile tests in a message to the Federal Assembly on March 1, 2018 , the statement was accompanied by a video of the missile launch .
“At the end of 2017, the successful launch of the last Russian cruise missile with a nuclear power plant took place at the central training camp of the Russian Federation. During the flight, the power plant reached the set power level, providing the level necessary thrust. ”
In July 2018, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation held a briefing and showed a video with missile tests and seminars. The representative of the Ministry of Defense stated that the creation of the rocket proceeds according to plan.
“Based on the specified requirements, the design of the rocket components is being improved, their ground tests have been conducted, the flight tests are in preparation for the experimental samples of an improved design of a cruise missile.”
In May 2018, the US television station CNBC issued a statement of anonymous sources according to which, according to a report by unnamed US intelligence agencies, missile tests at the end of 2017 were unsuccessful. This statement was criticized, including Viktor Murakhovsky, a member of the board of experts of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, who stated that the publication’s sources had passed the crash test phase for the incident.

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In August 2018, the US television station CNBC published an article reporting the details of missile tests conducted from November 2017 to February 2018. The information source was again described as a report by an unknown US intelligence agency. In particular, it was reported that an operation was prepared to lift a nuclear-powered rocket from the bottom of the Barents Sea that fell during one of the failed tests. The Diplomat integrated the CNBC article with satellite images of the proposed test site.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of National Defense magazine, called the news a special “staging”, behind which are those Pentagon structures that conduct information operations in cyberspace “.
At the beginning of February 2019, the American publications “The Diplomat and Business Insider”, based on unknown sources of US intelligence, announced the resumption of tests of a cruise missile on the training camp of Kapustin Yar; the tests are characterized as partially successful.
According to officially confirmed TASS data, a nuclear power station test for a complex Burevestnik cruise missile was successfully conducted in January 2019.

On 8 August 2019, at the military training camp of the 45th Lenin State Order, the naval testing ground of the Navy (known by the designation of the code “zero-nine”, coming from the military unit number 09703), an explosion occurred near the village of Nenoksa in the Arkhangelsk region, which caused five test scientists who died and about a dozen were injured. In Severodvinsk, 30 km away, a short-term jump was recorded in background radiation at 2 microns Sv / h compared to a normal level of 0.11 μSv / h.

According to the Ministry of Defense and the Rosatom company, a liquid propellant engine exploded at the test site using a radioisotopic energy source. Numerous Western media reported nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis, who suggested that the incident occurred during the tests of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. US President Donald Trump said the Petrel missile exploded, while the Trump administration did not confirm or deny the possible fact of testing a cruise missile with a nuclear plant.



Six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2018
  • Petrel
  • Status-6
  • Sarmat (ICBM)
  • Avangard
  • Poseidon
  • Peresvet (laser weapon)


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