A Russian nuclear-powered submarine successfully test-fired four intercontinental ballistic missiles on Tuesday, the navy said.
The navy said the submarine, named Yuri Dolgoruky (K-535) after the medieval prince who founded Moscow, launched the Bulava missiles in a single salvo from a submerged position in the White Sea. The navy said the mock warheads the missiles carried reached their practice targets on the opposite side of Russia — the Kura shooting range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.
Bulava Missile Notes:
The RSM-56 Bulava (Russian: Булава, lit. “mace”, NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 or SS-N-32 , GRAU index 3M30, 3K30) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) developed for the Russian Navy and deployed in 2013 on the new Borei class of ballistic missile nuclear submarines. It is intended as the future cornerstone of Russia’s nuclear triad, and is the most expensive weapons project in the country. The weapon takes its name from bulava, a Russian word for mace.
Designed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, development of the missile was launched in the late 1990s as a replacement for the R-39 Rif solid-fuel SLBM. The Project 955/955A Borei-class submarines carry 16 missiles per vessel. Development and deployment of the Bulava missile within the Russian Navy is not affected by the enforcement of the new START treaty.
The exercise marked the first simultaneous launch of four Bulava missiles, which can carry multiple nuclear warheads and has a range of up to 9,300 kilometers (about 5,770 miles.)
The Bulava has been commissioned by the Russian navy after a long cycle of development. Russian officials said the missile has quicker start than its predecessors, helping it dodge missile defenses.
The Yuri Dolgoruky is one of the three new Borei-class submarines the Russian navy has. Another five such submarines are under construction to gradually replace some of the older Soviet-built ones.
K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy is the first Borei-class ballistic missile submarine of the Project 955 in service with the Russian Navy. Named after the founder of Moscow, Yuri Dolgoruki, the vessel was laid down on 2 November 1996 and was first planned to enter service in 2001. However, the R-39M missile that the Borei class was supposed to carry was abandoned after several failed tests, and the submarine was redesigned for the Bulava missile. The Bulava missile is smaller than the original R-39M, and in the 2007 START treaty data exchange it was reported that all Borei-class submarines would carry 16 missiles instead of 12, as originally intended. As of January 2013 the submarine is active with the Russian Navy.
On 15 April 2007 the submarine was rolled out of the construction hall into a launch dock in Severodvinsk, when the vessel was about 82% complete. The Russian government allocated nearly 5 billion rubles, or 40% of the Navy’s 2007 weapons budget, for the completion of the submarine.
There was some speculation that Yuriy Dolgorukiy would be rushed through the rest of the production and testing phases in order to be ready for the 2008 Russian presidential elections. Much of the vessel’s equipment remained uninstalled and untested, a process that would normally take over a year to complete.
On 13 February 2008 Yuriy Dolgorukiy was finally launched from the floating dock in Severodvinsk where the final outfitting took place. The submarine’s reactor was first activated on 21 November 2008, and the submarine began its sea trials on 19 June 2009.