Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bulava missile will without doubt enter service - Russian Navy

MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile will enter service with the Navy despite a series of failed test-launches, the first deputy chief of the Navy General Staff said on Saturday.

On July 15, a Bulava SLBM self-destructed after its first stage malfunctioned when it was fired from the submerged Dmitry Donskoi strategic nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea.

"We are committed to this missile flying," Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev said in an interview on Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Six of the 11 test launches of the Bulava have ended in failure. The launches were temporarily suspended and the missile components were tested in the labs after a series of previous failures.

Burtsev said the cause of the latest failure was not a human error, but most likely a technical problem.

"The submarine crew painstakingly accomplished all set tasks," he said.

The admiral added that the Bulava test launches from the Dmitry Donskoi will continue in the near future, and the missile will be later tested on the Yury Dolgoruky strategic submarine, the first of the new Borei class vessels.

The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borei-class nuclear-powered submarines.

(courtesy: RIA Novosti)

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