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Russian ICBM Bulava's test firing fails

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MOSCOW (BNS): A test firing of the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Bulava on Tuesday by the Russian military was a failure, according to multiple sources in the military establishment.

The missile was self-destroyed after it went off its original path after launch from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine.

Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo told reporters that the missile test was carried out in the White Sea. According to the original plans, the missile was to hit the Kura firing ground in Kamchatka, in the far east of Russia. The missile went off course after the first stage of separation, according to RIA Novosti. The state information agency quoted Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo as saying that a naval commission will investigate the cause of the failure.

The last test of Bulava was on November 28 and had successfully hit the target in Kamchatka Peninsula.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, has a range of 8000 kilometers and is meant for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

Before the flight test, Russian navy had said that the missile, capable of penetrating the US missile shield, would be inducted into service next year. The failure thus is a setback for the Russian plans.

The Russian military will carry out three to four Bulava missile tests next year, according to naval sources. A total of about 12 to 14 tests are necessary for perfecting the new generation missile system that is to replace Russia's ageing ballistic missiles from the communist era.

The Bulava has been designed for navy's latest nuclear submarines-- Yury Dolgoruky, Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh. Each of them can carry up to 12 Bulava missiles. All three submarines are yet to be commissioned, but Yury Dolgoruky is in the waters undergoing final rounds of tests.

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