The testing of Russia’s new submarine-launched R-30 Bulava ICBM (SS-NX-30) intercontinental ballistic missile has come to an end. On Dec. 23 its in-service carrier Borei-class Yuri Dolgoruky submarine fired two missiles in salvo from the White Sea. According to Russia’s Northern Fleet report, the missiles’ warheads “reached the Kura range at the Kamchatka peninsula at the designated time.” Earlier the military didn’t exclude the possibility of postponing this salvo trial to May 2012, due to the bad winter weather conditions in the White Sea.
Bulava's launch (Credit: Russian Defense Ministry website)
The latest firings were the fourth trial launch in 2011 and the 18th within the test program. Eleven launches out of these were successful.
The salvo launch is believed to be the last in the test program, and Bulava is now expected to be received into service. Russia’s Kommersant daily cites sources in the defense industry and the navy saying this could happen within the next five months, but the missile’s launches will be continued from May 2012.
This three-stage solid-propellant Bulava has been developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermotechnics (MIT). According to unofficial information, Bulava has a takeoff weight of 36.8 tons and can deliver 1,150-kg throw weight to a range of 8,000 km. The missile can reportedly carry 6-10 nuclear warheads of 100-150 kilotons each that after separation will maneuver at hypersonic speed to engage individual targets.