Plans for Bulava SLBM testing may be shifting. When last we checked, Navy CINC Vysotskiy said look for four more tests with a salvo launch this year or next, but an OPK source said expect a salvo test in late August or fall. The latter sounds more like what we are reading today. In sum, it seems someone’s in a hurry to give Bulava final approval.
This morning ITAR-TASS reported Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy will conduct a maximum of two Bulava SLBM test launches, including a salvo launch, before the end of this year. The news agency’s interlocutor said:
“It’s still planned to conduct the next, the 16th, flight test of one missile in the last ten days of August, and then – in fall or even in December – a salvo launch of two ‘Bulava’ missiles. But another possibility isn’t ruled out – conducting a salvo launch of two missiles right off in August, omitting a single missile test. Next week it will be known which possibility was finally selected.”
The state commission told ITAR-TASS:
“Whatever the testing variant, in the event of a successful ‘Bulava’ salvo launch, a decision on accepting this missile system into our Navy’s arsenal will follow.”
ITAR-TASS also reported Borey number two Aleksandr Nevskiy has begun factory testing, and number three Vladimir Monomakh is 50 percent complete.