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    Manufacturing violations cause of Bulava tests failures - Navy commander (Update 1)

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    Manufacturing violations have been the cause of the failures of Russia's ill-fated Bulava ballistic missile tests, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said on Saturday.

    Manufacturing violations have been the cause of the failures of Russia's ill-fated Bulava ballistic missile tests, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said on Saturday.

    "The cause lies in the original violation of manufacturing procedures of the expensive [Bulava] missile system," Vysotsky told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

    "If we start by arranging our work incorrectly, we end up with big problems," he said.

    The failure of the Bulava's latest test launch from the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine in the White Sea on December 9, 2009, was caused by a defective engine nozzle, a source close to a government commission probing the incident told RIA Novosti on Friday.

    Since then, all further Bulava test launches were put on hold pending the results of the probe.

    The source said the missile "simply wasn't built right" and that it was not a design but manufacturing fault.

    Nevertheless, considerable headway has been made over the past two years, Vysotsky said.

    "There is a chance that the work [on the missile system] will be finished by the end of the year," he said.

    Further Bulava test launches will resume in late August or September, he added.

    The Bulava (SS-NX-30), a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), has officially suffered seven failures in 12 tests. Some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures was considerably larger, with Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer contending that of the Bulava's 12 test launches, only one was entirely successful.

    The future development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM.

    However, that would require major changes to the Borey-class submarines and 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 put into service with the Navy.

     

    MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti)

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