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#1 Russian missile designer quits after test failures
07-26-2009, 01:40 AM
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- Aug 2005
"Russia has never been able to launch a Ballistic missile from a sumarine underwater..They always have to surface to launch and that can make you very dead in Nuclear warfare. "
The head of the institute developing a sea-based version of Russia's newest strategic missile has quit following repeated failures of the weapon in testing, officials said Wednesday. Yury Solomonov, head of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, was the most senior official to date to take responsibility for the string of failures of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, currently in development. "After the latest unsuccessful launch of the Bulava rocket, Yury Solomonov has submitted a resignation letter," Interfax-AVN, a news agency specializing in military affairs, quoted a source in the country's space industry as saying. The source said his resignation...
Last edited by megimoo; 07-26-2009 at 01:44 AM.
07-26-2009, 01:43 AM
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- Aug 2005
Russia stunned by missile failure setback
The Russian military's drive to revamp its Soviet-era missile arsenal has suffered a major setback after a nuclear-capable missile touted as the new pride of its rocket forces failed again in testing.
The submarine-launched Bulava intercontinental missile has now reportedly failed on more than half of its 11 test-firings and the latest launch was particularly disastrous as it blew up before completing the first stage.
The defence ministry late Thursday confirmed that the Bulava had exploded after launch from the nuclear-powered submarine Dmitry Donskoy off northern Russia "due to a failure in the first stage".
It was the sixth failure in 11 test launches, according to the specialist military newswire of the Interfax news agency. ITAR-TASS said the flight lasted a mere 28 seconds.
"It is a big setback that puts into doubt the validity of the nuclear deterrent," independent Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told AFP. "This time it was in the first stage. That's not good."
"Of course, nuclear weapons serve as deterrents. If they don't work, but you can pretend they do, then they can still do the job. But here (with the Bulava) we don't even have a pretence," he added.
A source in the goverment's defence industry commission admitted to Interfax that it was "bad" that the problem occurred in the first stage as "we thought this had been fully worked out."
The source indicated there was no prospect of scrapping the project. "I think the situation with the missile is not hopeless. No test of a new missile goes ahead without such problems."
The Bulava, which can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads, has a maximum range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles).
It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia's new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile, and designed to be launched from Moscow's newest Borei class of submarines.
The last test on December 23 also ended in failure when the missile exploded in mid-air after launch.
The Bulava is the standard-bearing project for the Russian military which is seeking to replace old Soviet-era warhorse missiles with more modern models as part of a major military reform.
In a sign of the importance of the project, the Kommersant newspaper said a colossal 40 percent of the defence ministry's purchasing budget is currently being spent on development of the Bulava.
"The failure exposes the serious problem Russia has in replacing Soviet-made strategic delivery systems. It puts Russia into a position where its nuclear superpower status is in question," said Felgenhauer.
The overall commander of Russia's missile forces, General Nikolai Solovtsov, has called for the nuclear arsenal to be completely revamped by 2020.
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