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Russia to carry out next Bulava test launch next month: defense ministry

(Xinhua)

08:43, August 22, 2011

MOSCOW, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The next test of the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile was scheduled as early as September, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

The spokesman said the State Commission for Flight Testing has decided to hold the next launch of the troubled Bulava missile until the end of August.

He denied earlier reports about a abortive test launch of the Bulava missile from the submarine Yury Dolgoruky. According to Interfax news agency which cited a source, the launch was expected to be conducted on Saturday, but the submarine returned from the White Sea to the shipyard without fulfilling the mission.

The defense ministry spokesman told media that the test firing of Bulava missiles proceeds normally, and the Yury Dolgoruky submarine makes regular voyages in compliance with the plan of trials.

"The submarine performs various tasks, including tests of its elements and systems. Not every voyage includes test firing," he was quoted by the state Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

He added that a salvo launch of Bulava would be made by the end of this year.

"Two or more missiles will be fired in a salvo, which is a part of the plan of state tests," he said.

Bulava, which is supposed to become Russia's main naval strategic missile, is capable of carrying 10 warheads with a range of 8,000 km. Only eight of the previous 15 launches were officially declared successful.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier the Bulava missile might be added to the Russian Navy's arsenal as early as in 2011 or in the beginning of 2012.

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