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New Bulava missile test results in failure - Russian military

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A scheduled test of Russia's new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on July 15 was a failure, the Defense Ministry's press service said on Thursday.

MOSCOW, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - A scheduled test of Russia's new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on July 15 was a failure, the Defense Ministry's press service said on Thursday.

"The missile self-destructed after a malfunction of the first stage," the ministry said.

The missile was fired from the Dmitry Donskoi strategic nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea, off Russia's northwest coast.

"A naval commission will investigate the cause of the missile's self-destruction," the ministry said.

Six of the 11 test launches of the Bulava have ended in failure. The launches were temporarily suspended and the missile components were tested in the labs after a series of previous failures.

Russia's Defense Ministry has said, though, it planned to conduct up to five Bulava tests in 2009 and put the SLBM into service by the end of this year.

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 ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

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

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