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. Russian submarine fails to launch troubled missile: report

The Dmitry Donskoi.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Oct 29, 2009
Russia's latest test of its next-generation Bulava missile was aborted when a submarine failed to carry out the launch, in a fresh setback for the project, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

The Dmitry Donskoi, a nuclear-powered sub that had been due to test-fire a Bulava off Russia's northern coast, returned to its White Sea base without having launched the missile, a source at the naval base told Interfax.

"The main task of the mission, the execution of the Bulava test launch, was not fulfilled," the source was quoted as saying.

"There are many theories about the event but the reasons can only be announced after an analysis of what happened," he added.

The Bulava, the flagship project in Moscow's efforts to revamp its ageing Soviet-era missile arsenal, has suffered a string of embarrassing failures, with seven out of 11 tests since 2005 ending unsuccessfully.

Nearly half of the Russian defence ministry's purchasing budget is devoted to the Bulava programme, according to Russian media reports.

The Bulava has a maximum range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) and can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads.

It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia's new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile, and designed to be launched from Moscow's newest Borei class of submarines.

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