MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) – The latest failed launch of Russia’s new submarine-launched ballistic missile was caused by a manufacturing glitch, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
On September 6, a Bulava missile fired during state trials of the ballistic missile submarine Alexander Nevsky in the White Sea failed in the second minute of flight. A state commission led by the head of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, has carried out an investigation into the failed launch.
“The commission has finished the investigation. The causes of the failure are related to faulty manufacturing of the missile’s nozzle,” Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said at a roundtable conference on state defense contracts held by RIA Novosti.
Borisov said the same flaw had been fixed on three remaining missiles in the same production batch, but claimed that production of the missile in general was “technologically sound.”
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has previously ordered five additional launches of the Bulava missile following a failed launch on September 6. They have been slated for next year, Borisov said.
With the latest flop, eight of 19 or 20 test launches of the Bulava have officially been declared failures. Some analysts have suggest the real number may be considerably higher, however.
The three-stage Bulava SLBM carries up to 10 independent warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).
Despite the test failures, the Russian military has insisted there is no alternative to the Bulava as the main armament for Russia’s new Borey-class strategic missile submarines.
The first Borey-class boat, the Yury Dolgoruky, was commissioned into the Northern Fleet in January.