It’s called the 9M730 Burevestnik missile, but NATO has decided to nickname it ‘Skyfall’ because – well – it falls from the sky.
To be fair, that’s the modus operandi of most missiles, but whatever.
This particular weapon has been linked to the deaths of five scientists after an accident in Nyonoksa, in north eastern Russia, last year.
That incident caused a radiation spike that was ‘one thousand times higher than lethal’ when it occurred last August.
Speaking at a media briefing, Britain’s Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lieutenant General Jim Hockenhull said: “Moscow is testing a subsonic nuclear-powered cruise missile system which has global reach and would allow attack from unexpected directions.”
So, it seems as if this terrifying weapon might be capable of taking to the skies for years at a time, allowing anyone wielding it to strike with amazing force at any time.
What’s more, it could be ready to launch by 2025.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin is reported to have said that the weapon is ‘a radically new type of weaponry’ that has ‘unlimited range and unlimited ability to manoeuvre’.
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Lt Gen Hockenhull is quoted by The Sunday Telegraph after he spoke at the Five Eyes intelligence hub at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire.
Five Eyes – rather than being a bizarre off-brand burger joint – is an intelligence alliance made up of boffins from the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Hockenhall also stated that Russia has been investing in submarines and other underwater capabilities, including an unmanned craft that could be capable of ‘delivering a nuclear payload to coastal targets, or even carrier groups at sea’.
It’s said they could also target undersea internet cables.
At the media briefing, the Chief of Defence Intelligence also outlined how, despite Russia’s army being much smaller than it was during the Cold War, it can’t be underestimated as the country has completely changed its strategy with regards to warfare since then.
He explained: “They have looked hard at the West to see where best to place their investments to give us the most challenges.”
He also mentioned that Iran and North Korea pose regional threats, but maintained that China presents the biggest realistic threat to stability around the world.
We’ll have to wait and see, I guess. Brilliant.