Russia is about to test-launch a volley of intercontinental ballistic missiles from nuclear-powered submarines, during an exercise to test the combat readiness of its nuclear deterrence forces, according to a report in the newspaper Izvestia.
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The missiles will include the new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, which is intended as the future cornerstone of Russia's nuclear capability and is the country's most expensive weapons project.
The missiles will be fired by two Borei-class nuclear-powered submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruky and the Vladimir Monomakh, Izvestiya reported, quoting a source at the Northern Fleet’s headquarters.
The Bulava entered service with the Yuri Dolgoruky in January 2013.
The launch, which is expected to take place in the Barents Sea, will test the submarines’ ability to fire 16 IBMs while moving at a depth of 50 meters in choppy seas.
It will be only the fourth such exercise since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Previous tests have had very mixed success, according to Pravda newspaper.
"Last year, the Vladimir Monomakh fired two missiles from under the water. However, one of the missiles self-destructed, and the other one did not pass the test for accuracy," Pravda wrote.
"The remaining missiles were sent back to the manufacturer to determine the causes of the failure. It was established that the failure occurred because of production defects."