Ministry Dismisses Bulava Test Reports
20:20 05/12/2012 MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday dismissed media reports saying the Bulava sea-based ballistic missile will be test launched from the Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine next July.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said the reports were sheer “speculation” and “out of sync with reality.”
“All test launches of advanced strategic missile systems are conducted stage by stage, strictly in compliance with official test plans,” he said.
“Any unofficial media information citing a date for the tests of the Bulava strategic complex is a product of its authors’ imagination and does not merit serious attention,” the ministry spokesman said.
A representative of the Sevmash shipyard where the Alexander Nevsky Borey-class submarine is being built earlier said the test launch decision will be made next spring, depending on the situation in the White Sea and the submarine’s readiness.
The Navy said in June the Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM has de facto entered service.
The three-stage missile carries up to 10 MIRV warheads, has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) and is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear submarines.
Only 11 of 18 or 19 test launches of the troubled Bulava have been officially declared successful.
However, some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures is considerably higher. Despite several previous failures officially blamed on manufacturing faults, the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava.
Borey-class submarines should replace the aging Project 941 (NATO Typhoon class) and Project 667 class (Delta-3 and Delta-4) boats. Russia is planning to build eight Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020.
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