Next Bulava launch to be held until September 2011

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday the State Commission for Flight Testing decided to hold the launch of troubled Bulava missile until the end of August.

“We are absolutely convinced that the missile will be passed into service, but considering its importance for the state security, we have decided to check all its qualities one more time,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.

Russia has carried out 15 test launches of the Bulava. Only eight of them were successful.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) SLBM carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has a range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). The three-stage ballistic missile is specifically designed for deployment on Borey class nuclear submarines.

The Russian military is planning to conduct four additional tests of the missile before putting it into service by the end of 2011.

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