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    Russia's Bulava missile 'will fly' - Navy chief

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    Russia will carry out the next test of a Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile in late July, and will conduct a total of four or five launches this year, the Navy commander said on Friday.

    MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will carry out the next test of a Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile in late July, and will conduct a total of four or five launches this year, the Navy commander said on Friday.

    "The next launch is planned for the second half of July, and a total of four or five launches are planned in 2009," Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said.

    Despite five failures in 10 trials, the last unsuccessful trial being in December 2008, Russia's Defense Ministry is planning to complete Bulava tests and put the ICBM into service by the end of 2009.

    "It will fly, it will definitely fly," Vysotsky told reporters.

    The Russian military says the Bulava, along with Topol-M ballistic missiles, will become the backbone of Russia's nuclear triad.

    The triad comprises land-based ballistic missile systems, nuclear-propelled submarines armed with sea-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers carrying nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

    The Bulava-M (SS-NX-30) ICBM carries up to 10 nuclear warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

    Currently, six types of silo-based and road-mobile ICBMs, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, and the Topol-M (Stalin), are in operational service with the Strategic Missile Forces.

    The SMF reportedly has a total of 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Topol (Sickle) missiles and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.

     

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