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'Bulava test failed due to faulty steering system'

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MOSCOW (BNS): Faulty steering system in the first stage of flight resulted in failure of Bulava ballistic missile test in July this year, a Russian defence industry official has said.

The submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was test-fired from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine in North Sea on July 15, but it exploded soon after launch.

As per official records, the missile has suffered six failures out of 11 tests so far. But, according to Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer, of all the 11 tests, only one has remained successful.

Several defence experts and lawmakers have suggested that Russia should focus its efforts on improving the Sineva SLBM.

The third-generation RSM-54 Sineva entered services with the Russian Navy in July, 2007. The liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile can carry four to 10 nuclear warheads, depending on its modification.

However, Russia intends to develop Bulava as the core of its nuclear triad along with Topol-M land-based ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

The military has insisted that there is no alternative to Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile till it is ready to be inducted in the Russian Navy, RIA Novosti reported.

The Bulava SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers. The three-stage ballistic missile is designed for deployment on Borey-class nuclear-powered submarines.

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