Russia's Bulava: Most dangerous nuclear powered submarine-launched ICBM

Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 08:00 PM(IST)

Russia's newest nuclear submarine on Wednesday successfully test-fired a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the White Sea off Russia's northwestern coast. 

Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile

Russia had successfully test-fired the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the White Sea off Russia's northwestern coast in 2019.




Launched from underwater position in White Sea

The defence ministry said the "missile's flight went according to plan" and it landed at the set time.

Launched from an underwater position in the White Sea, off Russia's northern coast, it hit a target thousands of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in far eastern Russia.


Big message to US

The test is considered to be a substantial message from Russia to the West, especially to the US.


More powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima

Bulava is a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile(SLBM) which can deliver six independently targeted warheads, each equivalent to 150 kilotons of TNT.

Each missile is between 50 and 60 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which was approximately 15 kilotons.

The Bulava has an estimated range of over 8,300 kilometers.


Vladimir submarine

The launch was part of the final validation trials of the Prince Vladimir submarine.

It is named after the 10th century Russian Prince Vladimir, the Great. 

Also known as the boomer it is part of the Borei-II class submarines.


Capable of carrying 16 Bulava missiles

Launched in 2017, the Prince Vladimir submarine is the first upgraded model of Russia's Borei class of ballistic missile submarines designed to be more manoeuvrable and quieter than previous models. 

It is capable of carrying up to 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles.


Russia's naval strategic nuclear force

The submarines are expected to form the basis of Russia's naval strategic nuclear force.

The Knyaz Vladimir submarine is the first upgraded 955A model to be produced in the Borei class of Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.



Expected to trigger a reaction

The timing of Russia's test is significant.

The US recently pulled out of a cold war-era nuclear pact, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty(INF) treaty that served as a speed breaker of sorts in the US-Russia arms race. 

The global arms control architecture erected during the Cold War to keep Washington and Moscow in check has come under strain since the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.


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