Russia has successfully tested the new Bulava (SS-NX-32) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the White Sea aboard the yet to be commissioned new-generation nuclear-powered Borei-class submarine, Vladimir Monomakh, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov has said.
Conducted as part of the submarine’s weapons and systems testing, the missile was launched from an underwater position and its warheads reached the Kura firing range in Kamchatka, Russian Far East.
Russia Naval commander-in-chief admiral Viktor Chirkov was quoted by Interfax as saying: "In October and November of this year, the naval fleet will carry out two more launches with two rocket cruisers equipped with ballistic missiles."
The Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology-built Bulava missile, which has a range of more than 8,000km, is designed to replace the R-39UTTH Bark missile on-board the submarines and is capable of carrying up to ten MIRV warheads.
Russia has conducted about 20 Bulava tests; eight were successful; four partially successful and the rest were failures, including the one that was executed last September in the White Sea.
The latest test launch is aimed at making the ICBM R-30 Bulava a key nuclear warhead for ballistic missile submarines of the Borei-class, which would replace the Russian Navy’s ageing Delta III, Delta IV and Typhoon classes.
The Vladimir Monomakh submarine is the third of eight vessels that are expected to be delivered to the navy by 2015.
The first in the class of the submarines, Yury Dolgoruky, was formally inducted into the service in January 2013, while the second vessel Alexander Nevsky was commissioned in late December 2013.
Knyaz Vladimir, the fourth submarine was laid down in 2012.
Recently, France had reportedly pulled out from its earlier plans to deliver two controversial Mistral-class warships to the Russian Navy next month, citing conditions for delivery as being ‘not right’ amid growing conflicts in Ukraine.