TechBulava ballistic missile strikes Kamchatka: Russians elated

Bulava ballistic missile strikes Kamchatka: Russians elated

The Bulava ballistic missile hit the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The Bulava ballistic missile hit the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Images source: © The text "Tass" is already in English and it's a proper name, so it does not need to be translated. | Vladimir Ivashchenko
2:34 PM EST, November 5, 2023

The AFP agency has reported on Russian tests of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the missile was deployed from a submarine and struck the Kamchatka Peninsula, specifically its local military training ground.

The Polish Press Agency has stressed that the successful test of the Bulava missile occurred shortly after Russia withdrew from the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons tests. However, these drills with the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile do not imply that the Russian Federation has transitioned from declarations to actions. It wasn't a nuclear test.

About the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile

The Bulava missile, designated by NATO as the SS-NX-30 missile, is an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear payloads. It can deliver up to six nuclear warheads within a range of over 4970 miles.

The potential existence of such missiles doesn't necessarily mean that they were used in the recent exercises. The Bulava, a three-stage ballistic missile, is equipped on Borei-type submarines (project 955). These are nuclear-powered vessels, and only in this context does the testing information pertain to nuclear technology.

A Ballistic missile test is different from a nuclear test

The AFP have disclosed that during the test, the Bulava missile was released from a fourth-generation submarine, specifically the nuclear-powered Emperor Alexander III. There are no details about whether the ballistic missile was armed. The success of the test does not represent any advancement regarding the Russian nuclear repository, either.

The Bulava missiles first achieved a fully successful test in 2008. This was noteworthy given the frequent failures of the missiles until 2010. Since then, the Borei submarines' missile systems no longer encounter extensive failures.

It's also worthwhile to note that tests of ballistic missiles in military service do not always revolve around the projectile's efficacy. Sometimes they are conducted to identify and eliminate defects, or to carry out command procedures.

The fact that the Bulava missile hit its target is not definitive proof that the tests were entirely successful. We can only ascertain that the Russians either did not test the missile neutralization possibility, or this operation turned out to be unsuccessful.

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