Russia successfully test launched two Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles on Friday, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said.
The missiles were launched from the Borey-class Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea and hit designated targets at the Kura test range on Kamchatka, some 6,000 kilometers to the east.
This was the troubled Bulava’s 18th test launch. Only 11 launches have been officially declared successful.
But some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures is considerably larger. Russian military expert Pavel Felgengauer said that of the Bulava's first 12 test launches, only one was entirely successful.
Despite several previous failures, officially blamed on manufacturing faults, the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava.
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 nuclear submarines.