Russia has successfully test-fired a Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from the Borey-class Yury Dolgoruky nuclear-powered submarine, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
The missile was launched from the submerged submarine at a location in the Barents Sea and hit a designated target at the Kura test range on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula, the ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, it was the first operational test launch of Bulava in line with the program of combat training. All previous launches were part of development testing.
The three-stage Bulava SLBM carries up to 10 independent warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).
Earlier in October, a source in the Russian military-industrial complex said there would be two Bulava launches by the end of 2014, one from the the Alexander Nevsky nuclear submarine in November, and one – from Yury Dolgoruky in October.
In September, a Bulava missile was successfully test-fired from the Borey-class Vladimir Monomakh nuclear-powered submarine.
Bulava testing has encountered several failures in the past. In September 2013, during trials of the Aleksander Nevsky nuclear submarine a Bulava rocket malfunctioned. Following this incident, five additional Bulava launches were ordered.
Despite the 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.