The Russian defence ministry said on Sunday that a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile test was successfully completed by Russia’s new strategic nuclear submarine, the Imperator Alexander III.
The missile was launched from an underwater position in the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and struck a target thousands of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, according to the defence ministry. The Federation of American Scientists claims that the missile is capable of carrying up to six nuclear warheads.
“Firing a ballistic missile is the final element of state tests, after which a decision will be made to accept the cruiser into the Navy,” a ministry statement said.
According to Russian sources, the Imperator Alexander III is the fourth modernised Borei-A version and the seventh of the Russian Project 955 Borei (Arctic Wind) class nuclear submarines.
NATO refers to this type of submarines as the Dolgoruky class since the first vessel, the Yuri Dolgoruky, was the first modern generation nuclear submarine deployed by Russia since the end of the Cold War.
Sixteen Bulava missiles are mounted on the submarine of the Borei class. About 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) is the range of the 12-meter (40-foot) missile.
The Russian defence ministry said on Sunday that the Imperator Alexander III, the country’s newest strategic nuclear submarine, had successfully conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test at Bulava.
According to the defence ministry, the missile was fired from an undersea base in the White Sea off the northern coast of Russia and impacted a target hundreds of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East.
President Vladimir Putin has boosted military expenditure since taking office in 1999 and worked to reassemble Russia’s conventional and nuclear weapons following the instability that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The conflict in Ukraine has caused the worst crisis in Moscow’s ties with the West since the end of the Cold War, and Putin stated last month that he was unsure if Russia should start nuclear tests again.
In an interview that aired on Sunday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that ties with the US were at an all-time low.
Peskov stated, “Relations are at zero – or I would say below zero,” but he also stated that eventually communication between the US and Russian authorities will need to restart. “Putin has repeatedly stated that he is ready for any contacts,” he said.
The current plans, leaked to Russian media, are for Russia to build 10–12 Borei-class submarines, which would be split between the Northern and Pacific fleets.
Three further Borei-class submarines, designated Knyaz Pozharsky, Dmitry Donskoy, and Knyaz Potemkin, are now under construction. According to Russian media, plans are also on for two other vessels.