Why does the Russian 9M730 Burevestnik missile change nothing in the global nuclear equation?

President Vladimir Putin announced the end of testing of the nuclear-powered 9M730 Burevestnik missile, one of the new generation weapons presented in 2018 during the Russian presidential campaign. If the missile can boast of these exceptional capabilities, it is however not able to change the strategic balances, or even the deterrence doctrines, of the countries equipped with it.

A little over a year ago now, Moscow announced with great superlatives the entry into service of the Belgorod nuclear submarine, and its ammunition, the Poseidon nuclear torpedo.

Poseidon, Kinzhal, Burevestnik: Vladimir Putin’s secret weapons

Relying for the occasion on the fantasies conveyed by the Anglo-Saxon tabloids, Russian propaganda then presented the Belgorod-Poseidon couple as a weapon capable of overturning strategic balances, in particular by creating immense Tsunamis capable of generating unparalleled damage to opposing coastal areas.

As we then showed, this fear was not based on anything concrete, except on the self-sustained exaggeration by a certain press in search of sensationalism.

Belgorod nuclear submarine Poseidon torpedo
During the 2018 presidential campaign, Vladimir Putin introduced several revolutionary weapons, including the Poseidon nuclear torpedo which now arms the Belgorod nuclear submarine.

Better yet, the strategic reality was in no way disrupted by the arrival of this weapon, which was less effective than existing ICBMs in maintaining global balances in the hands of the few equipped nations.

If further proof was needed of the more sensational than military nature of the Poseidon torpedo, none of the major nations equipped with it have undertaken to develop equivalent weapon systems since its presentation by Vladimir Putin in 2018.

The 9M730 Burevestnik missile with nuclear-thermal propulsion

Today it is the turn of the Burevestnik missile, one of the weapons presented by the Russian president as revolutionary on the sidelines of the 2018 electoral campaign, to be announced as soon to be operational, by the same Vladimir Putin, on the occasion of the Valdai International Discussion Club.

The 9M730 Burevestnik missile is, according to Russian authorities, a nuclear-powered cruise missile, capable of traveling several tens of thousands of kilometers to reach its target, and also carrying a nuclear charge.

This range, considerably greater than that of other cruise missiles, would allow the Russian general staff to program flight trajectories capable of bypassing opposing anti-aircraft defenses, to strike its targets on unexpected approaches, and therefore weakly protected.

missile 9M730 Burevestnik
The Burevestnik missile has flight characteristics close to those of a traditional cruise missile, except for a tenfold increase in range.

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