- Russia's Bulava missile 'will fly' - Navy chief
- Topol-M, Bulava missiles to be core of Russian nuclear triad
- U.S. not linked to failed Bulava launches - Russian minister
- Russia to conduct five tests of Bulava missile in 2009
MOSCOW, July 16 (RIA Novosti) - A scheduled test of Russia's new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on July 15 was a failure, the Defense Ministry's press service said on Thursday.
"The missile self-destructed after a malfunction of the first stage," the ministry said.
The missile was fired from the Dmitry Donskoi strategic nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea, off Russia's northwest coast.
"A naval commission will investigate the cause of the missile's self-destruction," the ministry said.
Six of the 11 test launches of the Bulava have ended in failure. The launches were temporarily suspended and the missile components were tested in the labs after a series of previous failures.
Russia's Defense Ministry has said, though, it planned to conduct up to five Bulava tests in 2009 and put the SLBM into service by the end of this year.
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 three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.
The Russian military expects the Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.