Ballistic missile deviated from the set trajectory, and its system of self-destruction snapped itself into action.
Rocket-carrier Molnia-M (Lightning) of middle-sized class bearing communication satellite was launched at 10:06 am Msk February 18 from Plisetsk Space Center.
According to Russian Space Force, the rocket launch was successful. Vladimir Putin was watching it like a day before when the President wanted to see two ballistic missiles launch from the submarine. Russian President congratulated the Space Center detachment with words, “You’ve done a high-quality job. It demonstrates your good qualification and perfect skills of your command”.
In turn, the officers presented President Putin the model of rocket-carrier Molnia as a memory of the rocket launch.
A day before Vladimir Putin was watching the fleet exercise in the Barents Sea (conducted in the framework of the strategic training for military command and Staff). The key moment of the exercise was launch of ballistic missiles pointed at the object 6,000 kilometers away.
Waiting for this fascinating moment, the President, Chief Commander came on board of Arkhangelsk atomic submarine and started watching how missile is going to be launched from underwater by Novomoskovsk submarine. After 20 minutes of waiting, the President left.
According to some sources, the accident at Novomoskovsk submarine could result in devastating consequences equal to Kursk submarine tragedy.
At first, Western media reported that the missile collapsed immediately after being launched from the submarine. Later information appeared that the missile was not released from the submarine shaft. Later Interfax and ITAR-TASS news agencies quoted a source in Russian Ministry of Defense that the missile launch was blocked by Russian space satellite.
There is another version that spy satellite was going to be launched from the submarine, but suddenly it started malfunctioning. This version can be true considering the fact that in July 1998 rocket-carrier Shtil carrying German Tubsan-N satellite was launched from Novomoskovsk submarine. However, the exercise plan did not have scheduled satellite launches from the submarine.
Russian military command wanted to demonstrate the world by big exercise in the Barents Sea that Russian Army is still powerful. However, the exercise was on the brink of failure. Some media say RSМ-54 missile lauched from the sub was supposed to hit the target in Kura ground in Kamchatka region. Russian military command said that initially missile launch was not planned, and launch imitation was conducted during the exercise.
Russian bombers carrying cruise missiles reached their destination (the area near Iceland). But the system of self-destruction snapped itself into action in the ballistic missile launched from Karelia atomic submarine, press-secretary of Russian Navy Igor Dygalo reported.
“There was no problem during the missile launch. 98 seconds of the missile flight all the parameters were as planned. After 98 seconds passed, the missile deviated from the set trajectory. As a result, the missile self-destruction system snapped itself into action”, the press department reported.
Special commission of experts is examining the causes of the accident.
“The accident resulted in neither damages no victims. This is good. But it is still extraordinary. We failed to demonstrate the potential aggressor that Russian nuclear strategic force are absolutely ready “, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Eduard Baltin, former commander of Northern Fleet atomic submarine division.
"Strategic defense force –the last key hope of our national defense – failed to do its assignment”, MK newspaper wrote.
Navy called this situation not extraordinary. It would not become sensation, if it was not the part of President Putin election campaign. Presence of high-ranking officials is unlucky for exercises of this kind”, the newspaper joked
To see the exercise photos, go to http://www1.newsteam.ru/reports/index.html?1,51,17