Russia’s new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) could be fired from ground-based launchers after a slight modification, says missile designer Yury Solomonov.

“This task is viable although some parts – about 10% cost-wise – must be adopted for ground launches,” he said.

The missile is lighter and more sophisticated than the Topol-M land-based ICBM with a low flight trajectory, and uses a liquid-propellant third stage to allow high manoeuvrability during warhead separation.

The Russian military expects the Bulava SLBM, along with the Topol-M ICBM, to become the core of Russia’s nuclear triad and plans to deploy the former on modified Typhoon Class and new Borey Class submarines.

The Russian Navy has scheduled the next test launch of the three-stage liquid and solid propellant SLBM for 17 December, according to RIA Novosti.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) carries up to ten MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000km.