Russia's leading rocket specialist has died

Russia’s leading rocket specialist – who developed deadly Kalibr missiles used in Ukraine – becomes the fourth key defence official to die in three weeks

  • Pavel Kamnev, 85, was responsible for more than 20 weapons inventions 
  • He was scientific director of Almaz-Antey Aerospace Defence Concern 
  • A video shows him being made a Hero of Labour by Vladimir Putin in 2016

Russia’s leading rocket specialist has died, the fourth key defence official to perish in less than three weeks.

Pavel Kamnev, 85, was the scientific director of the Almaz-Antey Aerospace Defence Concern and the expert who developed deadly Kalibr missiles deployed by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

He was responsible for more than 20 weapons inventions and co-author of over 300 scientific and technical reports.

‘He took an active part in the development of many missile systems,’ said an Almaz-Antey spokesman. 

Pavel Kamnev, 85, (pictured) was the scientific director of the Almaz-Antey Aerospace Defence Concern and the expert who developed deadly Kalibr missiles deployed by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine

On December 25 General Alexei Maslov, 69, former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine, died ‘suddenly’ the day after Vladimir Putin abruptly cancelled a trip to the tank enterprise where he worked as an international sales ambassador

Last week the inventor of ‘world’s best’ Angara rockets Vladimir Nesterov (pictured) died aged 74

Nosterov’s loss followed the ‘sudden death’ of Alexander Buzakov (pictured), 65, director general of Admiralty Shipyards, in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles

He worked until his death as scientific director of arms giant Almaz-Antey and chairman of Novator experimental design bureau where Kalibr missiles were created.

A video shows him being made a Hero of Labour by Vladimir Putin in 2016.

He lauded Putin for the ‘highest appreciation’ of his missile-making work ‘so that our country can live in peace and security’.

He spoke before his Kalibr missiles were used to decimate infrastructure and civilian targets in Ukraine.

Last week the inventor of ‘world’s best’ Angara rockets Vladimir Nesterov died aged 74.

Kamnev (pictured) was responsible for more than 20 weapons inventions and co-author of over 300 scientific and technical reports

Pictured: Russia’s leading rocket specialist Pavel Kamnev and Russian President Vladimir Putin 

A video shows Kamnev being made a Hero of Labour by Vladimir Putin in 2016

Kamnev lauded Putin for the ‘highest appreciation’ of his missile-making work ‘so that our country can live in peace and security’

Pictured: Kamnev worked until his death as scientific director of arms giant Almaz-Antey and chairman of Novator experimental design bureau where Kalibr missiles were created

He was the brains behind Putin’s dreams of the Russian exploration of the moon and outer space.

He was chief designer for the light and heavy versions of the Angara but for the later years of his life was dogged by a criminal case launched by Putin’s authorities into alleged fraud and embezzlement of more than £57 million.

He hailed the Angara as the ‘world’s best’ rocket system, and he was seen internationally as a leader in his field.

Nesterov’s loss followed the ‘sudden death’ of Alexander Buzakov, 65, director general of Admiralty Shipyards, in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles.

And on December 25 General Alexei Maslov, 69, former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine, died ‘suddenly’ the day after Vladimir Putin abruptly cancelled a trip to the tank enterprise where he worked as an international sales ambassador.

Pictured: General Alexei Maslov, former Commander-in-Chief of Russian Land Forces, died in Moscow aged 69

Pictured: Vladimir Nesterov, Angara space rocket system developer, died age 73

Pictured: Alexander Buzakov, director general of Admiralty Shipyards, in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles, died aged 65

Pictured: Russian Kalibr cruise missile (file photo). Kamnev’s Kalibr missiles were used to decimate infrastructure and civilian targets in Ukraine

Pictured: Russian Kalibr cruise missile is fired from a vessel 

Buzakov had been healthy the day before he died, and ‘nothing had been heard about Maslov’s health problems’ before he died, said Telegram channel Redacted number 6.

At NATO, Maslov worked alongside Dmitry Rogozin, an official close to Putin who was abruptly removed in the summer as head of the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos.

Putin had been due to fly to the Uralvagonzavod plant in Nizhny Tagil – which has been criticised by the Kremlin for failing to produce sufficient new tanks for the war in Ukraine.

However, the Russian president aborted the December 24 trip ‘at the last minute’ with no explanation, according to local reports.

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