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Bulava trials are postponed

Bulava trials are postponed 10.08.2010
Text: RusNavy.com
Photo: Launch of SLBM Bulava. TV channel Vesti 24
Subsequent trials of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Bulava are postponed "at least for two weeks", reports Interfax referring to a source in defense industry.

Session of the governmental panel which is to set a date of Bulava test launch was scheduled on Aug 9, but has not been held so far, said the source.

News agency Interfax reported late July citing a source in military industry that thirteenth test launch of SLBM Bulava would be held in mid Aug and that the launch window would open within the period of Aug 11-14.

Russian Navy Main HQ previously said that three test launches were planned in 2010, including one first-ever launch by Bulava's standard carrier Ц SSBN Yury Dolgoruky.

Anatoly Serdiukov, Russian defense minister said in May that Bulava trials would be resumed not earlier than in Nov 2010, as three absolutely identical missiles were assembled and their launch would help to "find a fault precisely, because it will be the same in all three cases".

Twelfth test launch of SLBM Bulava failed; the missile was launched from submerged SSBN Dmitry Donskoy on Dec 9, 2009 at the White Sea. Unstable operation of third stage engine was registered during the missile flight; it deviated from required track. According to Vedomosti, reason of the latest faulty launch was manufacturing defect Ц breakdown of solid engine thrust control mechanism made by NPO Iskra (Perm).

Seven out of twelve Bulava launches were considered unsuccessful, one Ц entirely successful. As explained by a source of ITAR-TASS, failure origin is so called "sliding breakdown" every time appearing at another place. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, all test launches of Bulava cost Russia at least 100 bln RUR.

Bulava is a submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is designed for destruction of critical strategic targets at enemy territory. Bulava missiles are planned to be based on Project 941 Akula submarines (Dmitry Donskoy) and Project 955 Borei (Yury Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky, Vladimir Monomakh). SLBM Bulava is currently under development in Moscow Thermotechnics Institute.

Presently, Bulava passes pre-commission test launches from SSBN Dmitry Donskoy. The missile production will be established at FSUE Votkinsky Zavod which produces ICBM Topol-M as well.

It is expected that Bulava will stop aging of Russian sea-based nuclear force and even change it in degree. According to the missile's general designer Yury Solomonov, neither current and prospective US ballistic missile defense system nor being developed German, French and Japanese BMD systems would be capable to track Bulava.

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