Reuters has reported that, earlier today, Russia successfully tested two new Bulava intercontinental missiles. The weapon which Moscow aims to make the cornerstone of its nuclear arsenal, has experienced several failures in the past leading some to question the design.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the 12-meter-long Bulava, (or Mace) was fired from a submarine below the surface of the Arctic White Sea and hit the target, a designated polygon, on Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far eastern region. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted by state-run RIA news agency as saying. “Its warheads reached the polygon (target) on time.”
The missiles carried inert payloads rather than nuclear warheads as Russia is a signatory of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) which bans all nuclear explosions.
The Bulava had failed half of its previous trials, calling into question the very expensive missile program. However, the previous launch back in June from the same submarine was chalked-up as a success.
A Russian Bulava missile weighs 36.8 tons and can travel a distance of 8,000 km (5,000 miles) while equipped with 6 to10 nuclear warheads, which would deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.