Russia will carry out its next test launch of the troubled Bulava ballistic missile in the third quarter of the year, a deputy defense minister said on Monday.
"In the third quarter launches will resume. The first will be from the nuclear Dmitry Donskoy submarine. From which vessel the next launch will come depends on the first launch," said Col. Gen. Dmitry Popovkin, who is also a member of the Russian General Staff.
Russia hopes the Bulava will be a key element of its nuclear forces. The missile has been specifically designed for Russia's new Borey class nuclear submarines, the first of which, the Yury Dolgoruky, is currently undergoing sea trials.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in May that Bulava test launches had been postponed until November.
Only five of 12 Bulava launches have been officially reported as being successful and late last month a special commission sent the government the results of its investigation into the latest failure, a launch from the Dmitry Donskoy in the White Sea in early December 2009.
The Russian Navy earlier planned at least four new test launches of the missile at the end of June, but defense industry experts suggested they would need to build three missiles under identical conditions to establish the causes of the failures.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) is a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). It carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).
The future development of Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials who suggest that the Russian Navy should keep using the more reliable Sineva SLBM.
The Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be deployed with the Navy.
PARIS, June 14 (RIA Novosti)