That same highly-placed RIA Novosti source in the Navy Main Staff also said the next Bulava SLBM test will occur in August or September from Dmitriy Donskoy. A favorable outcome would led to another test launch from Dmitriy Donskoy, then a third launch from the missile’s intended platform Yuriy Dolgorukiy.
RIA Novosti also reported a source — close to the state commission investigating the cause of the last failed Bulava launch — said yesterday that the cause of the unsuccessful December 2009 test was a malfunctioning rocket nozzle. He said:
“The state commission established that the nondeployment of Bulava’s extendible nozzle between the missile’s first and second stages was the cause of the last unsuccessful launch.”
He added that the nozzle problem was not caused by a design flaw, but by a production defect, and the missile was simply made incorrectly.
RIA Novosti recalled that First Deputy Defense Minister Popovkin, on 30 June, said only that the commission had recommended continuing Bulava testing. He didn’t comment on any conclusions on the cause of the last Bulava failure.
Why did a mistake like using an incorrect nozzle type occur during assembly? Are not the specifications for the kind of nozzles on each stage established before the testing preparation? Is the nozzle developed spefically for the Bulava?
It is stated that the nozzle defect was a production defect and that the missile was made incorrectly. Does that not mean that it was an inspection failure during manufacture. If so, then it is possible to ensure correctness in future to avoid all such failures with a water-tight inspection procedure for quality during manufacture of components.