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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to start construction of 4th Borey-class sub in early 2010

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian shipyard will start building a fourth Borey class (Project 955) strategic submarine in early 2010, the Navy's chief said on Monday.

Vladimir Vysotsky said the postponement of the submarine construction from late this year to early next year was not linked to the latest unsuccessful launch of Russia's troubled Bulava intercontinental missile.

The latest launch of the missile, which Russia hopes will be a key element of its nuclear forces, from a submarine in the White Sea ended in failure on December 9. Only five of 12 Bulava launches have been officially reported as being successful.

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

The Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, is expected to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.

The future development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM.

But the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be put in service with the Navy.

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