The Russian Navy’s Typhoon Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy is preparing to test launch the navy’s Bulava missile.

According to Ria Novosti, the submarine left the naval base in Severodvinsk to test the readiness of the equipment for future launches of the Bulava missile.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that can carry up to ten warheads and has an estimated range of over 8,000km.

Currently under development at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the Bulava missile has suffered six failures in 11 tests. The most recent test failure was on 15 July 2009, during a launch from Dmitry Donskoy.

The three-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile is destined to be deployed on the navy’s new Borey Class nuclear-powered strategic submarines.

TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy is the only vessel in service with the Russian Navy capable of testing the new Bulava SLBM.