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Russia could change Bulava missile test method


A file photo of Bulava missile test from a submarine.

MOSCOW (BNS): The test-launch process of Russia's troubled Bulava missile could see some changes as suggested by a Commission of Inquiry set up to probe into the continuous failure of the weapon.

“Procedure for flight tests (of) sea-based ballistic missile Bulava could be changed,” a source in Russia's military industrial complex was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

The Commission of Inquiry, which was probing into the causes of failure of the intercontinental ballistic missile, has completed its task in December.

According to the findings of the Commission, “hard and defining solutions” could be taken for further tests of the Bulava in the near future, the source said.

The last test launch of the missile in December 2009 ended in failure when technical glitches marred its third stage functioning, thereby faltering the flight course. In a previous test in July, the missile self-destructed when its first stage engine malfunctioned.

The missile has so far been test fired 12 times, out of which seven have resulted in failure. Russia, however, has shown its firmness to develop the missile as the core of its nuclear triad.

The over 8,000-km range ICBM carries up to 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads. The three-stage solid-propellant ballistic missile has been designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear-powered submarines.

Dismissing media reports that Russia was planning to test launch two Bulava ICBMs this year, the official said, “Start cannot be two, but much more.”

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