At 0510 MSK today, Dmitriy Donskoy successfully launched the second Bulava SLBM of 2010 while submerged in the White Sea. That makes two in a row, and 7 successes in 14 attempts overall.
A government Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) source told ITAR-TASS the 15th test could occur in early December and will be the first from new Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy. The source attributed the successes to a tightening of control over the production and state acceptance processes. He also warned it’s too early to relax:
“Two successful launches don’t signify that it’s possible to accept ‘Bulava’ into the arsenal. A great deal will depend on testing in 2011.”
A member of the state commission that investigated the Bulava failures told RIA Novosti that these successes show Bulava had assembly problems. And he said testing will continue in 2011.
RIA Novosti noted that, perhaps most significantly, this year’s Bulava tests came from a submerged boat. In 12 tests prior to 2010, there had not been a single successful underwater launch.