Big exercise in the Barents Sea aimed at checking the fighting readiness of Northern Fleet and it strategic nuclear component started with emergency: missile launches from Novomoskovsk submarine failed.
According to the exercise scenario, Novomoskovsk submarine crew was supposed to launch intercontinental ballistic missile from underwater targeted at Kura ground in Kamchatka region. Vladimir Putin was waiting for the scheduled missile launches from Archangelsk submarine, but in vain.
First Western information agencies reported that the missile destroyed immediately after being launched, then information appeared that the missile had not left its shaft at all. Later Interfax and ITAR-TASS referred to the source in Northern Fleet Command that the missile launch was blocked by a space satellite signal.
Finally, by evening the official version became: no missile launches had been scheduled for the exercise. The Command said “conditional missile launch” was scheduled by the exercise plan. According to Russian Navy Commander Vladimir Kuroedov, all the elements of the exercise were conducted in a regular regime. “Ballistic missiles launch was scheduled as “conditional launch”. The submarine did it twice – first in one area, then in another. We were watching it”, said the Navy Commander. The Admiral explained that “conditional launch means electronic launching missile not leaving the shaft”. Meanwhile, the Navy Press Department had announced the scheduled missile launches before the exercises started.
Then another emergency happened: the ballistic missile launched the following day from Karelia submarine in the Barets Sea, deviated from the set trajectory and was self-destructed. According to the Navy Commander assistant, the missile was launched from the submarine under normal conditions, but after 98th second of its flight the missile started deviating from its set trajectory, and its system of self-destruction snapped itself into action. Currently the expert commission is studying the causes of the accident, RIA-Novosti reports.
Luckily for the Navy Commanders, the President did not see this, he had left for Plesetsk Space Center. This makes no difference – Vladimir Putin has already made certain conclusions.
Military expert Alexander Golts said in a Die Welt interview that every time when experiencing failure, Russian military is giving way to inventing lies. “Such a reaction demonstrates degradation of the military”, Mr. Golts says. According to him, the very sad fact is that the military is making fun out of the President by hiding the truth from him. The expert says Vladimir Putin reminds “a puppet in the hands of the military”.
According to another military expert, Deputy Director for Center of Analysis, Strategy and Technology Maksim Pyadushkin, “the reputation of Russian military has been badly damaged (no difference will the fact of emergency be proved or not). The military exercise was supposed to demonstrate all the military power, and all available vessels were brought sea including the air-craft carrier”. Mr Pyaduskin believes that it is good that the President saw the alleged accident – his reaction in the form of providing support to the military should follow up immediately.
In foreseeable future Strategic Missile Forces will obtain the latest technical equipment, Vladimir Putin assured the military after the exercise in Plesetsk Space Center. The President said he has a most positive impression from the exercise in Plesetsk: this is a breakthrough in the sphere of the newest weapons.
According to the President, the newest technologies are a tool for modernizing Russian Army. Vladimir Putin emphasized that the exercise by no means is directed against the USA. This was a big exercise, and the foreign counterparts had been informed in advance about it. Today the assumed enemy is not a certain country as it was in the Soviet time, but our common enemy – international terrorism.
Molnia rocket-carrier delivers to the orbit space satellites both for military and civil use. President is observing this from the command post. New military satellite is being directed onto the orbit. The President is observing launches of two more rockets. Two hours after Molnia was launched, intercontinental RS-18 ballistic missile was launched from Baikonur Space Center, then 1.5 hours later intercontinental mobile Topol-M rocket was launched from Plesetsk Space Center. Summing up the exercise results, Vladimir Putin said: Russia determines its military strategy taking inti consideration new threats. Whatever they are, they will be responded adequately, Vladimir Putin said.
Northern Fleet specialist recalled the saying, “Rocket fell in swamp, work results from salary level”. Its irony is not in submariners’ pay (for the last 1.5 years it doubled), but in the problem that such complex equipment as strategic nuclear missiles needs regular control and financing. However, Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov confessed many times that financing is provide on minimum sufficient level, the Izvestia wrote.