DROWNED MISSILE

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Alexei Chernyshev Kommersant, September 27, 2001, p. 12

The Pacific Fleet lost one missile during the recent exercise. The military said that the Fleet will not raise the missile from the seabed.

An emergency happened during the exercise of the Russian Pacific Fleet near Kamchatka. A cruise missile deviated from its course and fell into the sea. Yury Sazonov, Prosecutor of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky garrison, said that the military is seeking the lost missile. The staff of the Pacific Fleet stated that the cruise missile would not hurt the environment.

The exercise of the Pacific Fleet involving warships, submarines, naval aviation and coastal units was conducted in the first half of September. The command of the Pacific Fleet said after the end of the exercise that all missiles hit their targets. However, it turned out that one cruise missile fell into the Avachinsky Bay. According to Interfax, the matter concerns the Granit missile.

The Granit missile can be launched from warships and submarines. The range of the missile is 550 kilometers. The Granit weighs seven tons. The length of missile is 10.5 meters. The missile’s speed is 2,800 kilometers per hour. The Kursk submarine, which sank in the Barents Sea carried 23 such missiles (22 combat and one training missile). The Kursk submarine launched one training missile before the shipwreck.

The press center of the Pacific Fleet confirmed that the missile was lost. The press center said: “Over ten missiles were launched from warships, submarines, and planes. One missile fell in the zone of the exercise. However, this is not dangerous: the area has been encircled. The Granit missile was equipped with a practice warhead. It contained diverse testing devices. Such situations happen in any exercise and we don’t think this is an emergency. There is no need to raise the missile.”

This is the first emergency in the Pacific Fleet in 2001. A year ago such incidents happened more often. In April 2000, an accidental shot happened on a warship docked in Vladivostok. The shell hit the Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship. Fortunately, there were no casualties. In June 2000, seamen damaged the R-29R strategic missile, and 12 people were taken to hospital.

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