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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to conduct 3 tests of Bulava missile in 2009 - Navy

RIA Novosti

19/03/2009 20:45 MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy will conduct at least three test launches of the new Bulava sea-based ballistic missile in 2009, a senior navy official said on Thursday.

"We are planning three test launches of the Bulava missile from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine. If the tests are successful, they will continue on board the new Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine," said Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, deputy chief of the Navy General Staff.

Despite five failures in 10 trials, Russia's Defense Ministry is planning to complete a series Bulava tests and put the ICBM into service by the end of 2009.

The Bulava-M (SS-NX-30) ICBM carries up to 10 nuclear warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

Sea trials of Yury Dolgoruky, Russia's first Borey class strategic nuclear submarine, are due to start in the summer, when navigation begins in the White Sea.

"The tests of the Bulava missile will coincide with the sea trials of the Yury Dolgoruky submarine after the thawing of ice floes in the White Sea. As a rule, this is in the second half of June," the admiral said.

Two other Borey class nuclear submarines, the Alexander Nevsky and the Vladimir Monomakh, are currently under construction at the Sevmash shipyard and are expected to be completed in 2009 and 2011. Russia is planning to build a total of eight submarines of this class by 2015.

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