The Russian government commission for testing Russia's Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile has completed its analysis of the missile's latest two successful launches and will choose a submarine for further tests by December 10, a source in the commission said on Sunday.
Last time, a Bulava missile was successfully test-fired on October 29 from the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea, hitting a target on the Kura test range in Russia's Far East Kamchatka region some 6,000 kilometers to the east.
It was the second successful firing in a month, coming after a series of embarrassing failures. Now, seven launches of the Bulava missile have been declared successful and their number has equaled the number of the missile's failures.
"The work to study the results of the missile's latest two launches came to an end on Saturday. It was decided that the third test launch will be made in the second half of December. The exact date of the launch will depend on weather conditions in the White Sea, from which the missile is planned to be fired," the source said.
The government commission is currently deciding on the submarine to launch the Bulava missile, the source said.
"With a great degree of certainty, we can say that a Bulava missile will be test launched from the Borei-class nuclear-powered undersea cruiser Yury Dolgoruky, which is preparing for tests. A final decision will be made in the first ten days of December," the source said.
The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.
A source in the government commission earlier said that the second stage of Bulava tests would start at the end of May 2011, if the launches in 2010 were a success.
The missile's previous failures were officially blamed on manufacturing faults.
Despite previous failures, 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 in service with the Navy.
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 missile will enter service when it is 100 percent reliable, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin earlier said.
MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti)