Russia puts Bulava intercontinental missile into service – DW – 05/14/2024

Russia puts Bulava intercontinental missile into service – DW – 05/14/2024
Russia puts Bulava intercontinental missile into service – DW – 05/14/2024

Russia has put into service the maritime-based Bulava intercontinental missile, one of the pillars of the Russian nuclear triad and which is capable of overcoming the United States anti-missile shield, its general constructor, Yuri Solomonov, announced this Tuesday (05/14/2024). The corresponding decree, he assured the TASS agency, was signed on May 7 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the same day he began his new six-year mandate in the Kremlin.

The Moscow Institute of Thermotechnics has been developing this missile since 1998, which has a range of 9,000 kilometers and can carry between 6 and 10 nuclear warheads. The Bulava (SS-NX-30, according to NATO classification) are launched from latest generation atomic submarines (Boréi projects).

Years of development and testing

In total, according to the Meduza portal, 40 test launches were carried out with this missile, seven of which were declared unsuccessful. The repeated failures in the Bulava tests forced their serial production to be delayed for years, which significantly increased spending, since the development of these missiles represented a large part of the arms budget.

Last November, the Defense Ministry said one such submarine had successfully tested the Bulava, firing it from an underwater position in the White Sea off northern Russia and hitting a target thousands of kilometers away on the Kamchatka Peninsula. in the far east.

Test launch of the Bulava missile on November 5.Image: ASSOCIATED PRESS/picture alliance

The Russian ‘mace’, prepared

The Bulava (‘mace’ in Russian) are, together with the land-based Topol missiles, one of the three legs of the Russian nuclear arsenal, along with nuclear bombers and atomic submarines, which can also launch atomic torpedoes. Russia has always hoped that the Topol and Bulava will allow it to maintain nuclear parity with the United States for at least the next half century.

Putin has warned the West since the start of the war in Ukraine that direct intervention by NATO troops could trigger a nuclear conflict. In March he said that he did not believe the United States was “rushing” toward this, but that Russia’s nuclear forces were technically prepared. Last Thursday he said that, in addition, “they are always alert.”

Russia expands its nuclear submarine arsenal

Seven submarines capable of carrying up to 16 Bulava rockets are currently in the service of the Russian Navy. Although in recent years Putin has ordered the development of hypersonic weapons to be prioritized, last December he said during the launching of Emperor Alexander III in Severodvinsk that Russia plans to expand its fleet of nuclear submarines.

In the coming years, the Sevmash shipyard in that Russian city will build three more strategic nuclear submarines of the Borey class, within the plan to build two nuclear submarines a year. According to the Global Firepower website, Russia, with 70 submarines, operates the world’s second-largest submarine fleet after China.

lgc (efe, rtr, dpa)

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