Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blast from the past....When we "recovered" Russian nukes?

via Enrique 262 Tumblr Page!

On Friday 3 October 1986, off the coast of Bermuda, the Soviet submarine K-219, a Project 667A Navaga-clas (NATO: Yankee I-class) suffered a catastrophic missile silo explosion after seawater leaked into silo six while underwater, leading to a chemical reaction with the liquid propellant from the SLBM inside of it, producing large quantities of nitrogen dioxide gas that eventually detonated, killing three sailors and mortally wounding the submarine.

Thanks to the efforts of her crew, specially of enlisted seaman Sergei Preminin, who perished in his successful mission to shut down the boat’s nuclear reactor, the submarine managed to surface under battery power, where it was intermediately detected by US aircraft, becoming the most photographed soviet submarine of the Cold War.

A soviet tug managed to reach the stricken vessel, but the damage was so severe, and the silo kept leaking gas into the submarine, that her captain, Igor Britanov, ordered everyone but him to abandon ship and get into the tug, until the ship could no longer remain afloat and sank, the captain managing to abandon her just before she was lost beneath the waves.

The submarine was carrying 34 warheads in 17 missiles (the 18th silo had been welded shut after an earlier, eerily similar accident a few years back), where the explosion completely destroyed the missile inside silo 6, ejecting its warheads into the Atlantic, and the remaining 32 warheads were found missing after a soviet hydrographic research ship found the wreck in 1988, the silos having been found forced open, pointing to a successful recovery effort by the US government.
There is a book that covers this incident but I wonder.  Did we really steal recover those nukes?  If we (the United States) didn't then could it have been the Brits?  Italians?  Could the Russians have recovered them and this is just a bit of internet deception?

Regardless its some fascinating stuff.

The Cold War was a lot more dicey than anyone wants to admit.  We don't need a repeat.

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