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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia's Bulava missile tests postponed due to wildfires

RIA Novosti

17:06 16/08/2010

MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has postponed the latest test launches of the ill-fated Bulava ballistic missile for at least two weeks due to raging wildfires in the central regions of the country, a Russian newspaper said Monday.

The tests were scheduled for August 9 -August 14, but wildfires threatened the work of the majority of companies involved in the production of components for the missile.

"These conditions do not facilitate serious work," Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted the director of a Yekaterinburg-based company that manufactures guidance and control systems for Bulava as saying.

The manufacturers are more concerned about their survival at this point, the paper concluded.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30), a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), has officially suffered seven failures in 12 tests.

A government commission probing the Bulava failures has concluded that the most recent failure of the Bulava's test launch, from the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine in the White Sea on December 9, 2009, was caused by a defective engine nozzle.

The commission said the failure was not due to a design but a manufacturing fault, and has given the green light to further testing.

Areas affected by wildfires in Russia were reduced by some 8,000 hectares to 46,000 hectares over the past 24 hours, but many key industrial facilities remain in the danger zone.

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