Explosion rocks Russian factory where new ‘stealth bomber’ was under development 

Credit: Ukrinform

On August 9, 2023, a huge explosion occurred at the Zagorsky Optical and Mechanical Plant in Sergiyev Posad, Russia. According to Russian media outlet Agentstvo, the plant was likely involved in the development of a “new-generation stealth bomber”. 

The cause of the massive blast is currently unclear, but it occurred shortly after Russia claimed to have stopped a Ukrainian drone attack.  

While officials suggest it might have been an accident, suspicions have arisen given Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive efforts against Russia. 

The factory officially produced night vision devices and binoculars for military use. However, the state contracts of the plant were ceased almost immediately upon the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war in March 2022, Agentstvo reported. 

Previously concluded contracts are still publicly available. Among them is the research and development project worth RUB 69 million ($712,000), billed to the Russian Defense Ministry. 

The contract, with the code name ‘Poslannik -1OEP/L’, had an execution deadline in 2027.  

In 2019, Alexei Krivoruchko, Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, stated that the new-generation strategic bomber and cruise missile carrier Poslannik is being developed with stealth technologies and materials used in its construction. 

The state-owned news outlet TASS then announced that the bomber “will be capable of carrying existing and future strategic cruise missiles, high-precision bombs, hypersonic weapons, and will be equipped with the latest communications and electronic warfare equipment”. 

Another Russia-owned news agency, RIA Novosti, reported a source saying that the “new ‘stealth’ bomber would be able to overcome the advanced lines of NATO air defense unnoticed”. 

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