A previous failed test of the missile resulted in an explosion that killed five Russian researchers.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Russia is preparing to test its nuclear-powered Skyfall cruise missile, which could potentially defeat U.S. missile defense systems, CNN reported Thursday.
According to satellite images obtained by CNN, there are “strong indications” that Russia is planning to test the missile at an isolated site near the Arctic Circle.
The CIA, Pentagon, and Russian Defense Ministry all refused to comment on the revelation, but a source in the American government told the network that the American defense establishment is aware of the matter.
The development of the Skyfall missile has raised eyebrows in the international community, as the nuclear-powered missile has the potential to create serious destruction.
“Using a nuclear reactor would, in principle, give the cruise missile unlimited range to fly under and around U.S. missile defense radars and interceptors,” weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis told CNN.
Lewis noted that there are “substantial questions, however, about whether the system can be made to work successfully, to say nothing of the threat that testing this system may pose to the environment and human health.”
A previous failed test of the missile resulted in an explosion that killed five Russian researchers who were trying to recover the remains of the weapon from the White Sea.
Analyzing the recent satellite images, Lewis noted activity around the site which he said proved Russia was planning a test in the near future.
“Russian personnel had erected a large environmental shelter to protect the missile and the crews preparing the launch from the harsh weather,” he said.
“This shelter was retracted, revealing a large object on the launch pad, which is a possible SSC-X-9 Skyfall launcher. There are also a significant number of objects next to the launch pad that are likely vehicles and shipping containers.”
“None of these signatures were present the last time the site was imaged optically in June,” Lewis added.