- Russian military set to continue Bulava missile tests
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The troubled Bulava ballistic missile, which has not yet been adopted for service with the Russian Navy, falls under arms control regime stipulated by the new strategic arms reduction pact, a senior Russian military official said.
The Bulava (SS-NX-30) is a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). It carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).
"Any [ballistic] missile launched from a strategic submarine is subject to control and inspection regime. This practice includes the tests launches of the Bulava missile," Lt. Gen. Alexander Burutin, first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, told lawmakers on Thursday.
Only five of 12 Bulava launches have been officially reported as being successful and late last month a special commission sent the government the results of its investigation into the latest failure, a launch from the Dmitry Donskoy in the White Sea in early December 2009.
The new strategic arms reduction treaty was signed on April 8 in Prague, replacing the START 1 treaty that expired in December 2009. The document was submitted to the U.S. Senate on May 13 and to the State Duma on May 28. The Russian and U.S. presidents have agreed that the ratification processes should be simultaneous.
Under the new treaty, Russia is to transfer to the United States telemetric data on five ballistic missile launches a year.
"We are obliged to provide the Americans with [telemetric] data on the [Bulava] missile because we have already started the tests from a strategic submarine," Burutin said.
The general said, though, that the Russian Defense Ministry plans to test-launch up to 12 ballistic missiles a year over the next decade and Russia could choose which launches would be subject of U.S. inspections.
The future development of Bulava has been questioned by some lawmakers and defense industry officials who suggest that the Russian Navy should keep using the more reliable Sineva SLBM.
The Russian military has insisted that there is no alternative to the Bulava and pledged to continue testing the missile until it is ready to be deployed with the Navy.
MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti)
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