A new test launch of Russia's troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) will be carried out by the end of 2009, a defense industry source said on Tuesday.
The launch was tentatively scheduled for November 24 but has been postponed for the second time since the latest failure in July.
"The Defense Ministry and the manufacturer still have a number of issues, including technical, to resolve before the Bulava can be tested again sometime by year's end," the source said.
The Bulava's development has been dogged by a series of setbacks and has officially suffered six failures in 11 tests so far.
The latest Bulava failure during the launch from the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine in the North Sea was caused by a defective steering system in its first stage, according to military officials.
The future development of the Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry experts, who have suggested that all efforts should be focused on the existing Sineva SLBM.
But the Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be put in service with the Navy.
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 solid-propellant ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear-powered submarines.
The Bulava, along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles, is expected to become the core of Russia's nuclear triad.
MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti)
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Classic Car Rally in St. Petersburg
Infographics: Global Warming: Predicting Future Disasters
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
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.