Russia Announces New Sub-Fired Ballistic Missile

(Aug. 9) -A Russian Delta 4 ballistic-missile submarine, shown in 1994. Russia tested in May a next-generation missile intended for deployment on Delta 4 submarines, the nation's Makeyev Design Bureau confirmed (U.S. Defense Department photo).
(Aug. 9) -A Russian Delta 4 ballistic-missile submarine, shown in 1994. Russia tested in May a next-generation missile intended for deployment on Delta 4 submarines, the nation's Makeyev Design Bureau confirmed (U.S. Defense Department photo).

Russia's Makeyev Design Bureau has verified the first trial of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile intended to trump the payload-to-range capacities of comparable systems wielded by the world's other nuclear weapons states, Russia Today reported on Tuesday (see GSN, May 25).

The new "Liner" missile is a heavily modified variant of the RSM-54 Sineva formally delivered to the navy in 2007. Russia has equipped its Delta 4 submarines with 16 of the Sineva systems.

The new weapon had its initial trial launch in May. It is designed to deliver independently targeted nuclear warheads of varying yields, and it includes sophisticated features for breaching present and planned antimissile systems, Russia Today reported.

The Liner would enable Russia's Delta 4 submarines to remain in use until 2030, according to the report.

The weapon can transport between six and 12 warheads with explosives yields of 150 kilotons or four higher-yield nuclear weapons, placing it on par with the U.S. Trident 2 D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The Liner is strongly distinct from Russia's Bulava missile -- a three-stage, solid-fuel weapon slated for deployment on Borei-class submarines once testing is complete -- and the weapons should not be compared by their warhead capacities, specialists say. The Bulava can travel farther than 4,970 miles and carry 10 steerable, 150-kiloton warheads able to exceed the speed of sound, Russia Today reported (see GSN, July 1).

Solid-fuel missiles are also capable of gaining greater speed upon liftoff, potentially giving them an edge in evading enemy missile defenses (Russia Today, Aug. 9).

August 10, 2011
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Russia's Makeyev Design Bureau has verified the first trial of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile intended to trump the payload-to-range capacities of comparable systems wielded by the world's other nuclear weapons states, Russia Today reported on Tuesday (see GSN, May 25).

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