Maxim Pyadushkin writes: Russia’s defense ministry has ordered a new series of tests for the R-30 Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). RIA Novosti reported on April 28 that deputy defense minister for procurement General Vladimir Popovkin saying that the Defense Ministry had ordered additional ground testing of the R-30 this summer, before resuming launch trials.
Bulava started tests in 2005 and only five out of 10 launches were successful. The latest failure happened in December 2008 when the missile self-destructed during the flight. According to Popovkin, the investigation pointed to a manufacturing defect as the most likely cause of the failure, which occurred when an explosive bolt failed and prevent stages from separating.
The ground tests will include bench testing of Bulava’s subassemblies and components. After they are completed, the test launches will resume from the Dmitry Donskoy Typhoon class SSBN.
Bulava is a new solid-propellant missile with a range of up to 8,000 km and throw-weight of 1,150 kg. It is being designed by the Moscow Institute of Thermotechnics for Russia’s new Borei-class SSBNs. The first submarine of the class - Yuri Dolgorukiy - is being completed at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk. The Navy plans to have eight Borei-class submarines in service by 2017 to replace ageing Delta IV boats.