RUSSIA’S Skyfall missile could launch a nuclear strike at any moment as it circles the globe for years, a British spy boss has warned.
Britain’s Chief of Defence Intelligence Lt Gen Jim Hockenhull told a media briefing: “Moscow is testing a subsonic nuclear-powered cruise missile system which has global reach and would allow attack from unexpected directions”.
The 9M730 Burevestnik missile, known as Skyfall by Nato, has been linked to the deaths of at least five scientists during an accident in Nyonoska, north eastern Russia, which triggered a radiation spike “one thousand times higher than lethal” last August.
It’s believed the devastating missile could be ready to be launched by 2025 and would have the capability to fly around the Earth for years and fire a nuclear missile at any moment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have called it “a radically new type of weaponry” with “unlimited range and unlimited ability to manoeuvre”.
Lt Gen Hockenhull was speaking at the Five Eyes intelligence hub at RAF Wyton, Cambridgeshire, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
The Five Eyes alliance is made up of defence experts from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
At the briefing Lt Gen Hockenhull warned Russia had invested heavily in submarines and underwater capabilities, which included an unmanned water vehicle, which was “capable of delivering a nuclear payload to coastal targets, or even carrier groups at sea,” and could also target internet cables.
He also described how Russia's army was smaller than during the Cold War, but had changed its warfare strategy since then.
He said: “They have looked hard at the West to see where best to place their investments to give us the most challenges.”
He also described both Iran and North Korea as regional threats but said China posed the biggest threat to worldwide stability.
Russia is thought to have launched a test flight of the Skyfall missile on January 29 this year from Kapustin Yar, which is one of Vladimir Putin's major weapons testing grounds.
The Diplomat website quoted anonymous sources inside the US government with knowledge of the state-of-the art weapons programme.
They have described the recent test fire as "moderately successful."
If 'Skyfall' becomes operational, Russia could launch the missiles, prime them to cross the Pacific, go around South America and then penetrate US airspace from the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts say this would force the US to upgrade its air defence network, which currently assumes an air attack would come from the north, west, or east, but not the south.
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