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July 1, 2011

Russia says ballistic missile 'Bulava' ready for mass production

Russia on Friday declared a new submarine-fired ballistic missile ready to be manufactured in bulk following a successful test of the weapon on Tuesday, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, June 28).

“Bulava was test-launched, this a piece of good news. We understand well that this model of the missile can be put in serial production,” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

This week's test from Russia's Yuri Dolgoruky submarine marked the 15th launch of a Bulava missile and the weapon's eighth trial that did not end in failure.

“We achieved the result, now the Yuri Dolgoruky missile carrier can be armed with Bulava,” Serdyukov said.

The Defense Ministry previously indicated the Bulava could enter active duty "at the end of 2011 and at the beginning of 2012" if additional test flights prove successful (ITAR-Tass I, July 1). Moscow intends to conduct four more trial flights of the weapon before next year, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia's second Borei-class ballistic missile submarine could launch a Bulava missile in a 2011 test, Russian navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Thursday (see GSN, Dec. 14, 2010; RIA Novosti, June 30). The three-stage weapon, intended to deliver as many as 10 nuclear warheads as far as 5,000 miles, is designed specifically for deployment on Borei-class submarines (ITAR-Tass I).

"This year, we will test-fire the Bulava for the first time from the second designated carrier of the missile -- the Alexander Nevsky submarine," Vysotsky said. The vessel's assembly is wrapping up at Russia's Sevmash shipyard (Source: RIA Novosti).

Serdyukov, though, expressed less certainty that such a trial would take place, ITAR-Tass reported.

“We would like that to happen, but no precise forecasts can be given, a submarine is not a mere sedan,” the defense minister said.

Source: Global Security Newswire

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