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Russian missile doesn’t go “bang”

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Back from the Big Sky after a gruelling overnight ride on the Greyhound, I’m about to catch up on some well earned sleep.

But before I do, I’d just like to take a brief moment to wallow in my miraculous powers of prediction. Two weeks ago I noted that Russia was about to launch some major military exercises and commented that…

Russia’s military is not quite a joke, but there is a good reason why it has such a poor reputation. Can it really guarantee that the exercise will go smoothly?

And in today’s breaking news, it appears from this as yet unconfirmed report that a submarine ballistic missile launch failed this morning with President Putin and a sizeable media contingent observing. Russia’s ageing satellite network appears to be the early favourite to take the rap…

Russian news agencies, quoting the unnamed navy officer, said a signal from a military satellite had blocked the launch. No further explanation was given.

UPDATE: Reuters reports that Russia is now claiming the missile launch went off without a hitch…

“No unforeseen situations appeared in the course of the exercise,” a spokesman for Russia’s Northern Fleet said, according to Interfax news agency.

We’ll have to wait and see how this one finally turns out, and I’ll post another update once we know for sure what happened, but it this new development has certainly returned me to my humble state of yesterday. No more wallowing in my own perceived brilliance will be allowed.

UPDATE 2: The BBC article mentioned above has also been updated to reflect this new development. The BBC appears to update its breaking news pages on a rolling basis so, for current events, I’ll be more circumspect in using them as a source in the future.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For those of you searching for some background on the Russian government’s reasons for repeatedly test-launching ICBMs, this Moscow Times* article may come in useful…

The nuclear forces are armed with very old ICBMs: Some have been in service in underground silos for over 27 years…

If a test firing of an aging ICBM is successful, the warranted life span of all the other ICBMs of the same class is extended by a year. Typically, one of the oldest ICBMs of a class is launched each year. If the launch fails or there are serious problems, it is repeated. Every year, the test should be repeated in any case…

Now Putin has announced that some SS-19s will be in operation until 2030 and that they will be test-firing them each year.

*Note that Moscow Times articles are usually only freely available for one week.

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