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Russia successfully test-fires new Bulava missile

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MOSCOW —  The Russian Navy successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday, officials said.

The Bulava missile was launched from the submerged Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine in the White Sea, and its warheads hit a designated target at a military range on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said in a statement.

Russian Navy chief, Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, congratulated the submarine's crew on the successful launch, Dygalo said.

Several previous tests of the Bulava had failed _ casting doubt of Russia's ability to build what Russian officials have hailed as a key future component of the nation's nuclear forces.

The Bulava was developed by the Moscow-based Thermal Technology Institute, which designed the new ground-based Topol-M missile and had no previous experience in building submarine-based missiles.

According to published Russian reports, the Bulava is designed to have a range of 6,200 miles and carry six individually targeted nuclear warheads. It is expected to equip new Borei-class nuclear submarines, the first of which, Yuri Dolgoruky, was to be commissioned later this year.

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