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Russia's "Vast Missile Program" and the Ghost Rockets

A 1953 claim

The August 1953 edition of Aviation Age magazine contained a scare-article on the massive missile infrastructure purportedly being assembled around the Baltic by the Soviets. Aviation Age was an aerospace trade publication similar to Aviation Week and consistently took a rather sensationalistic approach to its coverage of the Russian air threat. This article is significant in that it purports to be the "first comprehensive description of the locations of Soviet missile centers and installations, missile development, and production to be published."

The article identifies Peenemunde as an active installation and designates a number of other alleged launch facilities by name. Cruise missile launch ramps on the Estonian islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa are said to have been aimed at the major Swedish mining center at Kiruna. Trajectories plotted between these islands and Kiruna do in fact pass near sites of particularly interesting Ghost Rocket "crashes" which are known to have been intensely investigated by the Swedish military on the assumption that the objects that impacted were in fact Soviet missiles, but the reality of the Soviet missile program could have been nothing like these feverish claims. None of the missiles described in the article appear to resemble actual Soviet projects of the time, and only a few of the installations mentioned actually seem to have been missile-related bases or R&D centers.