|R-30 (RSM-56) Bulava |
Bulava Missile variants
|Place of origin||Russia|
|In service||10 January 2013|
|Used by||Russian Navy|
|Designer||Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology|
|Manufacturer||Votkinsk Plant State Production Association|
|Weight||36.8 t (36.2 long tons; 40.6 short tons)|
|Length||11.5 m (38 ft) (without warhead)
12.1 m (40 ft) (launch container)
|Diameter||2 m (6 ft 7 in) (missile)
2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) (launch container)
|Warhead||6 (can carry 10) re-entry vehicles with a yield of 150 kt each.|
|Engine||three stage, solid propellant and liquid fuel
|8,000 km (5,000 mi) to 16,000 km (9,900 mi)|
|inertial, possibly with stellar sensor and/or GLONASS update|
Typhoon-class submarine Dmitri Donskoi
The Bulava (Russian: Булава, lit. "mace"; designation RSM-56, NATO reporting name SS-NX-32, GRAU index 3M30) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) developed for the Russian Navy and deployed in 2013 on the new Borei class of ballistic missile nuclear submarines. It is intended as the future cornerstone of Russia's nuclear triad, and is the most expensive weapons project in the country. The weapon takes its name from bulava, a Russian word for mace.
Designed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, development of the missile was launched in the late 1990s as a replacement for the R-39 solid-fuel SLBM. It is expected that the first three Borei-class submarines will carry 16 missiles, while the following five vessels will carry 20 missiles. Development and deployment of the Bulava missile within the Russian Navy is not affected by the enforcement of the new START treaty.
The missile's flight test programme was problematic. Until 2009, there were 6 failures in 13 flight tests and one failure during ground test, blamed mostly on insufficient quality of component production. After a failure in December 2009, further tests were put on hold and a probe was conducted to find out the reasons for the failures. Testing was resumed on 7 October 2010 with a launch from the Typhoon-class submarine Dmitri Donskoi in the White Sea; the warheads successfully hit their targets at the Kura Test Range in the Russian Far East. Seven launches have been conducted since the probe, all successful. On 28 June 2011, the missile was launched for the first time from its standard carrier, Borei-class submarine Yury Dolgorukiy, and on 27 August 2011 the first full-range (over 9,000 km (5,600 mi)) flight test was conducted. After this successful launch, the start of serial production of Bulava missiles in the same configuration was announced on 28 June 2011. A successful salvo launch on 23 December 2011 concluded the flight test programme. The missile was officially approved for service on 27 December 2011, and finally commissioned aboard the Yuri Dolgorukiy on 10 January 2013.
The Bulava missile was developed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology under the leadership of chief designer Yury Solomonov. Although it utilizes some engineering solutions used for the recent Topol-M ICBM, the new missile has been developed virtually from scratch. Bulava is both lighter and more sophisticated than the Topol-M. The two missiles are expected to have comparable ranges, and similar CEP and warhead configurations.
The missile has three stages; the first and second stages use solid fuel propellant, while the third stage uses a liquid fuel to allow high maneuverability during warhead separation. The missile can be launched from an inclined position, allowing a submarine to fire them while moving. It has a low flight trajectory, and due to this could be classified as a quasi-ballistic missile. The missile possesses advanced defense capabilities making it resistant to missile-defense systems. Among its abilities are evasive maneuvering, mid-course countermeasures and decoys, and a warhead fully shielded against both physical and electromagnetic pulse damage. The Bulava is designed to be capable of surviving a nuclear blast at a minimum distance of 500 metres (1,600 ft).
Borei-class submarines carrying Bulava missiles are expected to be an integral part of the Russian nuclear triad until 2040.
Development history 
In the 1990s, Russia had two submarine-launched ICBMs, the solid-fuel R-39 and the liquid-fuel R-29 Vysota family, both developed by the Makeyev Design Bureau. A new missile, designated R-39UTTH Bark was under development to replace the R-39. The Bark was planned to become the only submarine-launched ballistic missile of the Russian nuclear arsenal. However, its development was plagued with problems, and after three test failures the Bark programme was canceled in 1998. Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology was now tasked with developing a new advanced missile. The institute promised that it would able to quickly develop a new naval missile based on its recent Topol-M land-based ICBM.
The new missile would be deployed per 16 missiles on the Borei I- and per 20 missiles on Borei II-class submarines. As the new submarines would not be ready in time for flight tests, the Typhoon-class submarine Dmitry Donskoy was upgraded to carry Bulavas.
Key people involved in the decision to develop Bulava included the institute director and Bulava's chief designer Yury Solomonov; director of the Defense Ministry's Fourth Central Research Institute, Major-General Vladimir Dvorkin; Navy Commander, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov; Defense Minister, Marshal Igor Sergeyev; Economics Minister Yakov Urinson and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
First tests 
The missile completed the first stage launch-tests at the end of 2004. Although it was initially planned to base the Bulava design on the Topol-M, the first tests showed that the new missile was completely different in terms of appearance, dimensions and warhead lay-out. It was later acknowledged that the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology had developed Bulava virtually from scratch, reusing only a few engineering solutions from the Topol-M.
By 2009, the missile had experienced 5 failures in 11 tests. This led to the missile's chief designer, Yury Solomonov resigning from his post in July 2009. Aleksandr Sukhodolskiy was appointed as the new general designer of sea-based ballistic missiles at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology; Solomonov however retained his post of general designer of land-based missiles.
Explanations for the failures 
Chief designer Solomonov has blamed the failures on the poor state of the Russian defense industry and problems in the design-technology-production chain.
- "Sometimes [the problem] is poor-quality materials, sometimes it is the lack of necessary equipment to exclude the 'human' factor in production, sometimes it is inefficient quality control"
According to Solomonov, the industry is unable to manufacture 50 of the necessary components for the missile, forcing designers to improvise and look for alternative solutions, which seriously complicates the testing process. Solomonov further said that despite the failures, there was no need for changes in the design.
Sergei Kovalyov, the designer of three generations of Russian strategic submarines said that due to lack of funding, the developers had been unable to conduct test launches from a floating pad to test the underwater segment of the missile's trajectory. He also said that there were insufficient funds to conduct ground-based test launches. Both types of testing had been standard procedure during Soviet times. Kovalyov also criticised the poor quality of missile components provided by a large number of sub-contractors and the absence of military representatives at manufacturing plants.
Effects on the military 
Due to the delays in Bulava's development, the launch of the fourth Borei-class submarine, Svyatitel Nikolay, has been pushed back. Russia was planning to build eight of Borei-class submarines by 2015.
Only one Typhoon-class submarine, Dmitry Donskoy, has been modified to launch Bulavas. The Bulava program is the most expensive weapons project in Russia.
Debate about the program 
Despite continued test failures, the Russian defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, has stated that the project will not be abandoned. "We will certainly not give up the Bulava. I think that despite all the failures, the missile will fly," he said in an interview in late December 2009. The Russian military has been adamant that there is no alternative to Bulava.
There has been discussion among analysts about the possibility of re-equipping the Borei-class submarines with the more reliable liquid-propellant R-29RMU Sineva missiles. The Sineva is an upgrade of the R-29RM Shtil and entered service in 2007. According to RIA Novosti military analyst Ilya Kramnik, this would have been an attractive option, given that the less advanced Sineva missiles already have "virtually the same impressive specifications as the Trident II (D5) SLBMs wielded by the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy." However, the work needed to redesign and modify the Borei-class submarines to carry Sinevas is regarded as too expensive.
After a launch failure in December 2009 caused by a defective engine nozzle and which led to the 2009 Norwegian spiral anomaly, further tests were put on hold and a review of the missile program was initiated. The results of the probe were delivered to the Russian government in May 2010.
2010 tests 
Testing was resumed for the first time after the probe on 7 October 2010. The missile was launched from the submerged Dmitry Donskoy, in the White Sea, and the warheads successfully hit their targets at the Kura testing range, 380 kilometres (240 mi) to the north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Russian Far East. The launch reportedly took place at 07:15 UTC. The missile travelled over 6,000 kilometres (3,700 mi), and the rocket's trajectory was within the normal parameters, according to a Navy official.
The next test to be performed from Yuriy Dolgorukiy was initially planned to December 2010, but was postponed to mid-summer 2011 due to ice conditions in White Sea.
2011 tests and deployment 
Russian defense sources have stated that the Bulava missile will not enter service until it is 98-99% reliable. According to the Russian Vice Premier Sergei Ivanov another six successful launches (one planned in 2010, other five in 2011) will be required before the missile could be commissioned. After a successful test salvo launch in December 2011, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announched that the Bulava missile was ready and it would now be adopted for service with the Russian Navy.
2012 tests and deployment 
On August 2012 a high-ranking official of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation said in 2012 Russia will test fire its Bulava missile only once, in November, specifically from the nuclear-powered submarine Alexander Nevsky.
2013 deployment 
Bulava was finally commissioned with its lead carrier Yuri Dolgorukiy on 10 January 2013. The official ceremony of raising the Russian Navy colors on the submarine was led by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
|24 June 2004||Failure||Ground||Solid propellant engine exploded during the test.|
|01||23 September 2004||Success||Surfaced||Dmitri Donskoi||Pop-up test.|
|02||27 September 2005||Success||Surfaced||Dmitry Donskoi||First flight test.|
|03||21 December 2005||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||First launch from a submerged submarine.|
|04||7 September 2006||Failure||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||The first stage failed shortly after launch.|
|05||25 October 2006||Failure||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||Failure of the first stage.|
|06||24 December 2006||Failure||Surfaced||Dmitry Donskoi||Problems with the third stage.|
|07||29 June 2007||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||Warheads hit targets at the Kura testing range, but one of warheads didn't.|
|08||18 September 2008||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||Launch at 18:45, warheads hit target at 19:05.|
|09||28 November 2008||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||The first statements suggests that the test was a success.|
|10||23 December 2008||Failure||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||The missile malfunctioned during firing of its third stage and self-destructed on command.|
|11||15 July 2009||Failure||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||The missile malfunctioned during firing of its first stage and self-destructed.|
|12||9 December 2009||Failure||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||The missile malfunctioned during firing of its third stage.|
|13||7 October 2010||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||Targets at the Kura Test Range in the Russian Far East were successfully hit.|
|14||29 October 2010||Success||Submerged||Dmitry Donskoi||Launch from the White Sea. Targets at the Kura Test Range were hit successfully.|
|15||28 June 2011||Success||Submerged||Yury Dolgorukiy||First launch from standard missile carrier from the White Sea. Targets at the Kura Test Range were hit successfully.|
|16||27 August 2011||Success||Submerged||Yury Dolgorukiy||Launch from the White Sea. Targets at the Pacific Ocean were hit successfully at a range of 9,100 km (5,700 mi). First full-range test.|
|17||28 October 2011||Success||Submerged||Yury Dolgorukiy||Successful launch from the White Sea. Warheads hit target at the Kura test range in Kamchatka.|
|18,19||23 December 2011||Success||Submerged||Yury Dolgorukiy||A salvo launch involving two missiles. Warheads hit designated targets at the Kura test range in Kamchatka.|
|20||June/July 2013||Submerged||Alexander Nevsky|
After its successful launch in 28 June 2011 was announced start of serial production of Bulava missiles in same configuration.[full citation needed]. On 10 January 2013, Bulava was adopted into service with its lead carrier submarine Yuri Dolgorukiy.
- "Finally flying colors: Yury Dolgoruky nuclear sub joins Russian Navy". RT. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Russians test ballistic missile". BBC News Online. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "SS-27 Topol-M / SS-NX-30 Bulava ("Mace")". warfare.ru. 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- "Названа дата 14-го запуска "Булавы"". Flot.com. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Russian military successfully tests new missile". Fox News. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "New Start won't keep Russia from developing Bulava missiles - deputy PM | Defense | RIA Novosti". RIA Novosti. 5 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Russia's Bulava missile hits target in test". RIA Novosti. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Bulava missile completes flight tests, ready to deploy". RIA Novosti. 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- Kramnik, Ilya (2010-09-20). "Bulava missile: is there any alternative?". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 20121-11-05.
- "Bulava - the lightest ballistic missile of its type". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- " "SS-NX-30". missilethreat.com. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "Bulava missile: 13th time lucky". Russia Today. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11--05.
- "Status of Russia's SLBM programs". russianforces.org. 2005. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "The Bulava missile saga". RIA Novosti. 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "SSBN Yury Dolgoruky completed sea trials". rusnavy.com. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Bulava trials are postponed". rusnavy.com. 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Russian Bulava missile designer quits after failed tests". RIA Novosti. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- ""Булава" сносит головы". Российская газета. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Bulava missile designer blames industry for test failures". news.az. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russian submarine designer certain of Bulava missile success". RIA Novosti. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- Oberg, James (January 2010). "Russia's Ailing ICBM Program: Spiral over Norway latest in string of failures". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 2010=04-07.
- "Russia to start construction of 4th Borey-class sub in early 2010". RIA Novosti. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russia's newest nuclear sub completes sea trials". RIA Novosti. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russian defense minister insists on Bulava missile development". RIA Novosti. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
- Kramnik, Ilya (2010-09-20). "Bulava missile: is there any alternative?". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Bulava probe results ready for Russian government review - source". RIA Novosti. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- Podvig, Pavel. "Bulava launch reported success". russianforces.org. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russia successfully tests troubled Bulava missile". Reuters AlertNet. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russia carries out another successful test launch of Bulava missile". RIA Novosti. 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Названа новая дата испытаний "Булавы"". flot.com. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Russia to test Bulava missile in 3rd quarter - top general". RIA Novosti. 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russia's ballistic missile to enter service after clean sheet (Update 1)". RIA Novosti. 2010-10-26. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "To commission Bulava, six effective launches are required – Ivanov". rusnavy.com. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Bulava missile ready to deploy | Defense |". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Bulava missile: test-launch history". RIA Novosti. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- ""Булава" не раскалывается". Kommersant (in Russian). 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "Russia successfully test launches Bulava missile from submarine". RIA Novosti. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Russia test launches ICBM from White Sea, hits Kamchatka target". RIA Novosti. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "С АПЛ "Дмитрий Донской" произведен неудачный запуск "Булавы"". lenta.ru (in Russian). 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Q+A-Russia delays test of troubled Bulava missile". Reuters. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Russia's latest Bulava missile test unsuccessful". RIA Novosti. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "New Russian missile fails again in test: reports". Agence France-Presse. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Russia successfully test-fires new ballistic missile". RT. 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "First Borey class nuclear sub to be assigned to Pacific Fleet in 2011 | Defense |". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Yuri Dolgoruky nuclear submarine successfully conducts Bulava missile launch". RIA Novosti. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- тНРН: "пц". ""Чпхи Днкцнпсйхи" Бшонкмхк Сяоеьмши Осяй Пюйерш "Аскюбю" — Пняяхияйюъ Цюгерю". rg.ru. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- "Russian submarine test-fires Bulava missile successfully". RIA Novosti. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Russia successfully test fires Bulava missiles". RIA Novosti. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
- "Объем серийного выпуска ракет "Булава" может превысить 150 единиц". flot.com. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- ""Булаву" можно запускать в серийное производство, заявил Сердюков". flotprom.ru. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
- MissileThreat news articles, primarily with an American view of events.
- Russia's Bulava undergoes fast-track test programme, May 2006.
- Technical data in PDF, DTIG.
- Technical data from CNews.ru.
- Technical data from warfare.ru.