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Russian sub missile flops while Putin watches - 2/18/04

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Postby TMSmalley » Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:58 am

Note the statement by Pres. Putin *** third paragraph from the end of this post... ***


MOSCOW, Russia -- A Russian navy ballistic missile self-destructed after going off course during a test, following its launch from a submarine in the Barents Sea, according to the Russian navy press service.

The navy statement said the launch went according to plan for the first 98 seconds, but the missile then began veering off its programmed flight path. At that point, the missile's self-destruct mechanism took over.

The malfunction on Wednesday happened during Russia's largest military exercises in more than two decades, being overseen by President Vladimir Putin.

Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo told The Associated Press that the missile launched from the Karelia submarine (K-18 Delta IV) of the Northern Fleet in the Barents Sea was "destroyed by its self-liquidation system after deviating from its set trajectory."

No one was hurt, he added. An official investigation into the possible causes of the incident had been launched, he added.

Dygalo said that the missile was launched at a practice target on a testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East. He did not identify the missile.

According to the Russian media reports, the Karelia carries 16 RSM-54 missiles, each equipped with four independently-targeted warheads.

The failed launch followed an incident Tuesday in which a scheduled missile launch from the Northern Fleet's Novomoskovsk submarine was called off amid contradictory official statements, according to AP.

MORE Russian sub stories -
Russia's Putin sets sail in nuclear submarine on eve of election

MOSCOW (AFP) Feb 17, 2004
Russian President Vladimir Putin set sail Tuesday in the Arctic seas on board a nuclear submarine to oversee massive military exercises staged less than one month before presidential elections.
He went off into the Barents Sea -- where the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in August 2000 and killed 118 seamen just months into Putin's first term as president -- Monday evening to oversee what has been advertised as some of the largest war games staged by Russia in recent years.

News reports said they included six submarines carrying nuclear weapons. Tu-95 strategic bombers were due to test fire cruise missiles Tuesday over the Kola Peninsula on the northwestern edge of Russia near the Finnish border.

The exercises include the test launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles from submarines and ground troops across Russia and onto military target sites in the country's Far East.

ITAR-TASS reported that the games -- which were expected to last several weeks -- would feature some 5,000 servicemen.

Putin was shown wearing navy gear Monday evening as he boarded the Arkhangelsk nuclear submarine, Russia's largest nuclear submarine.

He inspected the ship and dined with the crew in a move which only bolsters his tough-guy image among voters ahead of March 14 presidential elections.

The Kremlin press service said he spent the night on board the submarine with the seamen and was expected to stay there until Tuesday evening.

But Putin faced a potentially embarrassing mishap when the Internet news site reported that a test intercontinental ballistic missile misfired during a launch from a nuclear submarine as the Russian president watched on from the deck of another submarine.

The report said the ICBM exploded shortly after takeoff. It did not mention any casualties and the navy press office refused to confirm the report.

Russian military officials have repeatedly said on the eve of the war games that they were a regular test of the country's military readiness and not aimed as a show of force against the West.

Meanwhile Putin's approval rating is reported at up to 80 percent -- a figure similar to that he brandished in 2000 when his drive to raise Russia's self-esteem through strong nationalist rhetoric helped him succeed Boris Yeltsin.


And the finale!

Russian missile self-destructs after going off course in blow to nuclear command

MOSCOW (AFP) Feb 18, 2004
An unarmed Russian ballistic missile veered off course and self-destructed Wednesday in a fresh blow to the country's nuclear command just one day after it was forced to scrap a similar test launch due to technical malfunctions.
Russia's Northern Fleet said the missile blew itself apart 98 seconds after being launched from the Barents Sea by an underwater nuclear submarine.

It was supposed to hit a target on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Far Eastern corner of Russia but quickly strayed off course. The navy said it has launched an investigation but gave no immediate explanation for the accident.

The mishap apparently affected an RSM-53 missile (NATO specification which was first developed by the Soviet Union in 1979.

It occurred just one day after Russia's navy scrapped two similar tests because of a reported malfunction in an embarrassing setback since President Vladimir Putin had set sail into the Barents Sea to personally witness the launches.

The tests came as part of major military exercises that include most branches of the Russian armed forces in what the media is billing as the biggest war games staged here since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

They were also just ahead of the March 14 presidential election in which Putin -- who has made army reforms one his top priorities and relies heavily on support of Russian patriotic forces -- is expected to easily win re-election for a second term.

There was no immediate reaction from Putin or his Kremlin staff to the ICBM explosion.

But the setback in the Barents Sea the day before was not covered by state-controlled television while navy officials tried to explain that an actual launch was never planned for that day.

The Kommersant business daily said Tuesday's launch went wrong when the first of two ICBMs failed to completely leave its launching pad. The second launch was then called off as a security precaution.

Navy commander Vladimir Kuroyedov told Interfax in response to the Kommersant report that he refused "to comment on gossip."

Wednesday's explosion again spoiled the day for Putin.

He left the Barents Sea on Tuesday night to witness the launch of a military satellite at the nearby northern cosmodrome in Plesetsk.

Putin sat smiling and dressed in green military fatigue next to Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in the control room as a booming military voice gave a second-by-second account of the event -- images that led off state-controlled television news.

Meanwhile the ICBM explosion failed to make the afternoon broadcasts on national television, which the opposition says is coming under Soviet-type controls from the government.

Western governments have also openly accused Russian media of bias and helping pro-Putin parties gain control of parliament in December elections.

Instead the government-run channels trumpeted the fact that another ICBM was successfully launched by the Russian military from the Baikonur launch pad it is renting from its neighbor Kazakhstan.

***Putin praised that launch as a sign that Russia could break through any missile shield that is under construction by the United States.***

ITAR-TASS quoted Putin as saying that the SS-19 missile launched at Baikonur "has no competition" when it comes to breaking through potential defense mechanisms.

"We are talking about a very dangerous weapon with serious potential," Putin said.

Image RSM-54 4 warhead MIRVed sub launched ICBM

Edited By TMSmalley on 1077116442
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Postby Mkeatingss » Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:22 pm

Well, Putin was right, on that point. In their, short-sighted planning, our designers failed to see the threat of missile debris, floating in the ocean, pushed by a westerly breeze.
I guess it's time for them to go back to the drawing boards, and figure out how to intercept a missile, which has self-destructed. Or, has veered off course, and is headed for somewhere in Russia.
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Postby TMSmalley » Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:54 pm

My attention was caught more by the itimation that they are still thinking about toasting us.
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Postby sam reichart » Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:13 pm

Anyone know what class the "Arkhangelsk " is?

and....did they have to tow it out to sea first so that it could attempt a launch?
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Postby ThierryC » Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:23 pm

I am pretty sure the Arkhangelsk is a Typhoon class
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Postby Dolphin » Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:57 am

Arkhangelsk & Dmitriy Donskoy are two of the 6 Typhoon (NATO named 'Typhoon' / Russian name 'Akula' class SSBN's) names. Can this be confirmed, and does anyone know what the other 4 names in this SSBN class might be?

After Russia's very difficult financial situation of the past decade, Putin's presence at these naval & military exercises boosts the Navy which is seeking to modernize and reorganize itself into a more modern, smaller force in contrast in size to what the Soviet Navy was at it's cold war height under Adm. of the Fleet Sergi Gorshkov. The United States Navy has also reduced it's size from the goal of a 600 ship Navy under President Reagan in the 80's down to it's current post cold war size still with it's world wide commitments in the War on Terrorism along with other world wide treaty obligations. Operationally now with it's smaller force numbers....the USN submarine fleet has never been busier!

President Putin is up for reelection in the Russian Republic as I understand. The apparent close association (since the tragic Kursk loss early in Putin's Presidency) and the political support of both the Russian Navy and Putin is of mutual interest to each in their eye to the Russian voter.

Putin's naturally seeks to bolster his image as a strong military leader to Russian voters. It must have been awkward to have the missile failures mentioned highlighted in the Russian media for both the Navy and, perhaps indirectly Putin. It may reveal that some of Russia's military technology infastructure is fragile and not as dependable to the task assigned .... due to years of unavoidable financial neglect in restoring and strengthening the Russian economy?

Russia isn't the only folks to have had SSBN missile launch failures in public view. In the west, the early Lockheed Trident missiles in the 1970's and 1980's went through an embarrassing series of early missile test failures at sea too. I rememmber one that ejected properly....and went spinning wildly and crashing just above the surface of the water. These Trident missiles that failed before the media were however early development test vehicles. In the case of the recent Russian SSBN missile failure however - this was supposed to be a demonstration of a mature missile design that has been in operation in their missile inventory since 1979.

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Postby sam reichart » Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:33 am

Not saying the Typhoons are archaic, but if the Typhoons flopped, just imagine what their other missile platforms must be like.


Just what the world needs...more half rusted, archaic technology being tested in a "my d**k is bigger than yours" contest.
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