View Full Version : Russia ICBM Test Fails Again: Ministry

07-16-2009, 09:27 PM
Russia ICBM Test Fails Again: Ministry
Published: 16 Jul 2009 18:23

MOSCOW - Another test of Russia's intercontinental Bulava missile has failed, the defense ministry said July 16, with the missile blowing up in mid-flight, following a similar failed test in December.

The missile, which can carry nuclear warheads, veered off course after the first stage of the rocket malfunctioned, said the ministry, quoted by the Ria Novosti agency.
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It was launched by Russia's Dmitri Donskoi submarine in the White Sea on July 15.

"A committee of inquiry has been set up to determine the causes" of the incident, the defense ministry's press service added.

Several such tests have already ended in failure, including one in December 2008 launched by the same submarine in the White Sea, off the northwest coast of Russia. On that occasion the missile also exploded in mid-air.

A defense ministry source said the problem was in the device designed to separate the different stages of the missile and said tests would continue this summer.

The Bulava missile normally has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) and can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads.

It is intended to equip the Russian navy's fourth-generation missile-launching nuclear submarines, which are being built at the Sevmash shipyard at Severodvinsk, on Russia's Arctic coast.


07-17-2009, 04:19 AM
Interesting find. Hopefully the Russians will keep this up and never have Bulava ICBM's.

07-17-2009, 05:04 AM
Interesting find. Hopefully the Russians will keep this up and never have Bulava ICBM's.

one can only hope yono

07-17-2009, 07:45 AM
What is the US doing on their nuclear arsenal? are they improving or designing new weapons or are they just letting their arsenal what it is?

07-17-2009, 09:56 AM
I suppose that would be Top-Secret information....

07-17-2009, 02:05 PM
more on it

Russia Re-Evaluates Missile Program After Failure
Published: 17 Jul 2009 12:20

MOSCOW - The Russian military's drive to revamp its Soviet-era missile arsenal has suffered a major setback after a nuclear-capable missile touted as the new pride of its rocket forces failed again in testing.

The submarine-launched Bulava intercontinental missile has now reportedly failed on more than half of its 11 test-firings and the latest launch was particularly disastrous as it blew up before completing the first stage.

The defence ministry late July 16 confirmed that the Bulava exploded after launch from the nuclear-powered submarine Dmitry Donskoy off northern Russia "due to a failure in the first stage."

It was the sixth failure in 11 test launches, according to the specialist military newswire of the Interfax news agency. ITAR-TASS said the flight lasted a mere 28 seconds.

"It is a big setback that puts into doubt the validity of the nuclear deterrent," independent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said. "This time it was in the first stage. That's not good."

"Of course, nuclear weapons serve as deterrents. If they don't work, but you can pretend they do, then they can still do the job. But here [with the Bulava] we don't even have a pretense," he added.

A source in the government's defense industry commission admitted to Interfax that it was "bad" that the problem occurred in the first stage as "we thought this had been fully worked out."

The source indicated there was no prospect of scrapping the project. "I think the situation with the missile is not hopeless. No test of a new missile goes ahead without such problems."

The Bulava, which can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads, has a maximum range of 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers).

It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia's new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile, and designed to be launched from Moscow's newest Borei class of submarines.

The last test, on Dec. 23, also ended in failure when the missile exploded in mid-air after launch.

The Bulava is the standard-bearing project for the Russian military, which is seeking to replace old Soviet-era warhorse missiles with more modern models as part of a major military reform.

In a sign of the importance of the project, the Kommersant newspaper said a colossal 40 percent of the defence ministry's purchasing budget is currently being spent on development of the Bulava.

"The failure exposes the serious problem Russia has in replacing Soviet-made strategic delivery systems. It puts Russia into a position where its nuclear superpower status is in question," Felgenhauer said.

The overall commander of Russia's missile forces, Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, has called for the nuclear arsenal to be completely revamped by 2020.

Defense expert Joseph Henrotin said there was a "fundamental problem in conception" to the idea of adapting a surface-to-surface missile like the Topol-M to a sea-to-surface version like the Bulava.

The technical problems were being compounded by the retirement of many Russian engineers and the drying-up of funding since the end of the Cold War, Henrotin said.

The problems with Bulava also come amid delicate negotiations between Russia and the United States aiming to renew by the end of the year the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on reducing nuclear arms.

"The Russians' credibility is threatened by these difficulties. The United States will see a country that has problems putting itself into order," said Henrotin, editor of the French monthly Defence and International Security.

Meanwhile, the RIA Novosti news agency cited a Russian intelligence source as saying that "sabotage" in the production chain had not been ruled out.

The source said the problems could have arisen through poor quality control but "the defect could have come into the production chain as a result of criminal negligence, which also could be seen as sabotage."