Russia's experimental Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile operated as planned in a Friday test flight conducted by the country's navy, the Defense Ministry announced (see GSN, Oct. 24).
The Yuri Dolgoruky submarine fired the weapon from the White Sea, and the missile's payload traveled 3,500 miles before landing at its intended destination in the Kura test range on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said. The test was the third consecutive time in which the Bulava missile has functioned correctly following a number of unsuccessful trials (Associated Press/Google News, Oct. 28).
"The flight went according to plan and the warheads reached the testing ground at the appropriate time," Reuters quoted the official as saying (Reuters, Oct. 28).
The missile, designed to deliver as many as 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads as far as 5,000 miles, is intended to become a central component of Russia's nuclear deterrent as the weapon's Cold War-era predecessors are phased out, high-level Russian military officials have indicated. The three-stage weapon is able to break the sound barrier and can carry significantly controllable warheads designed to evade antimissile technology (Associated Press).