Updated 2:48 p.m. Moscow time
SEVEROMORSK, September 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia plans to test-fire two more Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) later this year, a source in Russia’s Northern Fleet told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“Two more Bulava launches are scheduled to take place from two nuclear-powered Borey-class submarines, the Yury Dolgoruky and the Alexander Nevsky,” the source said.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that a Bulava SLBM had been test-fired from northwestern Russia and hit a simulated target in Far East. The missile was launched from the Vladimir Monomakh nuclear-powered submarine from a location off northwest Russia’s White Sea.
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the launch was part of the state tests of weapons and systems of the Vladimir Monomakh nuclear submarine.
The three-stage Bulava SLBM carries up to 10 independent warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles).
The testing of the Bulava missiles has seen failures in the past. In September 2013, during state trials of the Aleksander Nevsky nuclear submarine a Bulava rocket experienced a malfunction. Following this incident, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered to hold five additional launches of Bulava missiles.
Despite some test failures, the Russian military insisted there was no alternative to the Bulava as the main armament for Russia’s new Borey-class strategic missile submarines that are expected to become the backbone of the Russian Navy’s strategic nuclear deterrent force.