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Bulava test launch failed

Bulava test launch failed 10.12.2009
Twelfth test launch of SLBM Bulava from nuclear-powered submarine Dmitry Donskoy turned out to be failed, informs Interfax referring to the press service of Russian Ministry of Defense.

The underwater launch was performed from the waters of the White Sea. Unstable operation of third stage powerplant was registered during the missile flight; it deviated from required track, specifies ITAR-TASS.

According to itromso.no, in the morning of Dec 9 the residents of Norwegian town Tromso noticed an unidentified flying object in the sky. Later on, Norwegian defense ministry reported that the Russian military had performed ICBM test launches at the region where the UFO had allegedly started.

Six out of eleven previous Bulava launches were considered unsuccessful, one entirely successful. Yury Solomonov, general designer of Bulava resigned after the last faulty test launch on July 15. The accident cause was defect of first stage flight control unit.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta informed on Oct 30 that SSBN Dmitry Donskoy had sailed to the White Sea on Oct 26 to conduct subsequent test launch but it was canceled then. Perhaps, the missile could not leave launching tube due to faulty automatic protection system.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, all test launches of Bulava cost Russia not less than 100 bln rub.

Bulava is a submarine-based intercontinental 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 (example 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. Bulava missiles production will be established at FSUE Votkinsky Zavod which produces ICBM Topol-M as well.

It is expected that Bulava will stop ageing 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 will not be capable to track Bulava.

CHARACTERISTICS

Number of stages: 3
Length with warhead: 12.1 meters
Length without warhead: 11.5 meters
Diameter: 2 meters
Launch weight: 36.8 tonnes
Throw-weight: 1,150
Fuel type: solid mixture
Flight range: 8,000 km
Warhead type: multiple, nuclear, jettisonable
Number of warheads: 6
Yield: 6 x 150 kiloton
Guidance: autonomous, inertial, by on-board digital computer complex

Source: RusNavy.com, photo: SLBM Bulava (Vesti TV channel)

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