Contradicting news on trouble missile

Yury Dolgoruky back from sea trials in the White Sea.

Russia’s newest submarine returns to shipyard after White Sea mission without launching the Bulava missile. Speculations take off.


Russia’s first strategic missile submarine built after 1992, the Borei-class “Yury Dolgoruky” sailed quietly in the White Sea this weekend and made port call to its homeyard, Sevmash in Severodvinsk. The submarine had been on a high-profiled mission to the northern part of the White Sea and was supposed to launch a test-missile on Saturday.

Interfax was Sunday afternoon quoting an official from Sevmash naval yard saying the missile test did not take place due to a malfunction in the submarine’s energy system. Other Russian media reported Sunday evening that it was the missile itself that didn’t worked properly and couldn’t be fired.

RIA Novosti quotes an un-named source in the Defence Ministry saying “We are absolutely convinced that the missile will be passed into service, but considering its importance for the state security, we have decided to check all its qualities one more time.” That report sounds somewhat foggy since the same Ministry earlier said “Yury Dolgoruky” would sail out in late August to test-fire a Bulava missile.

BarentsObserver posted an editorial this spring arguing that successful launches of the Bulava missile this summer are of enormous prestige for Moscow. Not only for military officials, but also for top politicians that have proudly announced that the Bulava missile is so high-tech that it can penetrate any US missile defence systems.

Out of 15 Bulava missile tests carried out over the last six years, only seven of them have been considered a success.

Read all BarentsObserver articles on the Bulava missile

The first test-launch of a Bulava missile from “Yury Dolgoruky” took place on June 28 and it was then said that also the second submarine in the Borei-class, the “Aleksandr Nevsky” would conduct a test launch later this year. Prior to the June test, all Bulava missiles were launched from “Dmitri Donskoy”  a rebuilt Typhoon-class submarine.

A Defence Ministry official speaking to Itar-Tass on Sunday however says that there will be no test-shooting of the missile from “Aleksandr Nevsky” this year. The submarine is now undergoing factory testing (at Sevmash). Missile tests will not take place until spring 2012, the un-named source informed.