Home > Missiles > Bulava

Bulava

Submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile

Bulava missile

On paper the Bulava is a very capable missile, however there were numerous failed launches

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 2013
Basing Submarine-based
Missile
Missile length 12.1 m
Missile diameter 2 m
Launch weight 36.8 t
Throw weight 1.15 t
Number of MIRVs 6 - 10 x 150 kT
Range (full load) 9 500 km
Range (reduced load) 4 000 km
CEP 350 m
Guidance Astro-inertial guidance with GLONASS update

 

   The Bulava is a new Russian submarine-launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Its Western reporting name is SS-N-32. Its START treaty designation is RSM-56. The Bulava is carried by the new Russian Borei class submarines.

   Development of this missile commenced in 1998. It is a new missile, developed virtually from scratch. In 2003 the last operational Typhoon class submarine was upgraded as a test platform for these new missiles and was fitted with a single Bulava launcher. First launch tests began in 2004. In 2005 the Bulava was successfully launched by the Typhoon class submarine from submerged position while on the move. Development of this missile was plagued by setbacks, as there were numerous failed test launches. By 2009 there were 5 failures in 11 test launches. This led the missiles chief designer resigning from his post. The Bulava was first deployed and declared operational in 2013. However during the same year after another test launch the entire production run of the missiles was recalled for factory inspections. As of 2017 out of 27 test launches 12 tests were failures. In reality development of this missile still continues. On paper the Bulava is a very capable missiles. However it still has teething problems that need to be fixed. It is planned that 6-8 Borei class submarines, armed these missiles, will form a core of the Russian nuclear triad until 2040.

   The Bulava is a 3-stage solid-fuel missile. Originally it was planned that the Bulava will be a naval version of the Topol-M land-based ICBM. However this missile has different appearance, different dimensions and different warhead layout. Only few engineering solutions of the Topol-M were used on the Bulava.

   Overall this new Russian missile is much less capable than the US Trident D5. It has shorter range, can carry significantly less payload and is reportedly not that accurate. In terms of performance it is close to the US Trident C4, which was retired in 2005.

   The Bulava has a declared range of 9 500 km. As most modern ICBMs this missile can carry more than one nuclear warhead. Each warhead will strike different target. This Bulava can carry 6 Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) with a yield of 150 kT each. It can be also configured to carry 10 MIRVs, though to reduced range of only 4 000 km.

   The Bulava has an Astro-inertial guidance with Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system update. It has a CEP of 350 m. This missile was designed to overcome air defenses. For this role it carries an array of decoys. Furthermore RVs are capable of in-flight maneuvering and re-targeting, in order to outmaneuver hostile air defenses.

   Submarine-based ICBMs are typically more difficult to detect and destroy prior to their launch. Once on high alert the submarines can leave their bases and operate undetected in Russian coastal waters. Even though Borei class submarines are not as stealthy as their Western rivals, once in the sea these are protected by the Russian fleet. In coastal waters these balistic missile submarines are protected by aviation and land-based missile systems. Once the country has been attacked these submarine-based missiles have high chances of surviving the first strike. Furthermore in case of emergency the submarines can launch their missiles straight from the pier, without even leaving the harbor.

    Each Borei class submarine can carry 16 missiles. As of 2017 there are 3 of these submarines in service with the Russian Navy. Improved Borei class submarines, that are currently under construction, will carry 20 of these missiles. The Bulava missile has a potential to be road-mobile or rail-based.

 
Bulava missile

Expand image

Bulava missile

Expand image

Bulava missile

Expand image

Bulava missile

Expand image
 
Bulava missile

Expand image
 
Bulava missile

Expand image

Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home  Home     Aircraft     Helicopters     Tanks     Armored Vehicles     Artillery     Trucks     Engineering Vehicles     Missiles     Naval Forces     Firearms     |     Contact Us
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ARG 2006 - 2017
www.Military-Today.com Bulava