Background on Bulava missile tests

The Russian ICBM Bulava program is in trouble. On Wednesday, December 9th, a failed missile launch was visible over Northern Norway. So far, seven out of 17 tests have failed.


This unique photo taken in Northern Norway shows a Russian intercontinental missile flying into a spiral before it exploded in the atmosphare early morning on December 9th. The missile was most likely yet another failed test launch of a Bulava missile from the Typhoon submarine “Dmitri Donskoy” in the White Sea area.

You can follow the Bulava missile test program here at

2011-11-25 Double Bulava launch on Monday
Russia plans to test launch two Bulava intercontinental missiles from the White Sea on Monday November 28. People in Northern Norway should get up early and have their cameras ready.

2011-11-18 Last Bulava test launch can be postponed
The final test launch of Russia’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile Bulava can be postponed to next spring because of the weather conditions in the White Sea, Russia’s Defense Minister says.

2011-11-09 Dozens of major flaws on newest submarine
Simultaneously as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits Sevmash yard attending the contracts signing for new submarines, a source in the Russian Navy says the crew is afraid to sail with “Aleksandr Nevsky” - the newest submarine that carries 16 intercontinental nuclear missiles.

2011-10-28 Bulava missile visible from Norway
Russia’s first fourth-generation strategic submarine Yury Dolgoruky this morning launched it third Bulava missile. The launch was as success and was visible from large parts of Northern Norway.

2011-10-18 Two Bulava tests planned for this week
Russia plans to launch two of its newest intercontinental ballistic missiles Bulava on October 20 and 22.

2011-08-29 Successful Bulava launch at maximum flight range
Russia has conducted another successful test-launch of its newest intercontinental ballistic missile Bulava. The missile went maximum distance and reached its target in the Pacific Ocean.

2011-08-24 Ready for another Bulava test launch
“Yury Dolgoruky”, Russia’s first fourth-generation strategic submarine, is ready to test-launch another Bulava missile this weekend.

2011-08-21 Contradicting news on trouble missile
Russia’s newest submarine returns to shipyard after White Sea mission without launching the Bulava missile. Speculations take off.

2011-07-01 Aleksandr Nevsky also to shoot Bulava
With the first successful launch of a Bulava missile from a Borei-class submarine earlier this week, the Russian navy announces that also the second vessel in the class will conduct a launch later this year.

2011-06-29 Yury Dolgoruky successfully launches the Bulava
Russia’s newest and most advanced sub launches Russia’s most lethal missile, the Bulava.

2011-06-14 New submarine getting ready for missile launch
Russia’s newest strategic submarine ”Yury Dolgoruky” has sailed out to the White Sea to prepare for its first-ever test launch of the new Bulava missile, a Russian news agency reports.

2011-06-03 Bulava launch from Yury Dolgoruky in two weeks
Russia plans to make its first ever launch of the new missile Bulava from the new Borei-class strategic submarine Yury Dolgoruky in mid-June.

2011-05-09 Let’s get ready for the Bulava summer
OPINION: Hundreds of Russia’s top officers were watching the latest of military hardware at the Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square on Monday. However, their thoughts were more likely on the fate of the missile that was not on display; the prestigious Bulava submarine missile.

2011-03-01 Yury Dolgoruky sails to Pacific in 2012
Russia’s newest strategic submarine of the Borey-class will first test its missiles, and then sail for the Pacific fleet.

2010-12-21 Strategic submarine recalled for inspection
Russia’s newest strategic nuclear-powered submarine ”Yury Dolgoruky” is not ready to launch missiles and has been called back from sea trials for inspection and corrections. The work will probably take at least six months.

2010-12-15 Bulava launch postponed
The planned test launch of Russia’s new Bulava missile from the new strategic submarine Yury Dolgoruky has been postponed until next year. The reason is said to be difficult ice conditions in the White Sea.

2010-12-08 Four Bulava tests scheduled for December
Chief designer confirms the nuclear warheads to be put on Russia’s prestige Bulava submarine based missile have been completed.

2010-11-30 Russia to choose sub for next Bulava launch by Dec 10
The next test launch of Russia’s newest missile Bulava will most probably be conducted from the new strategic submarine Yury Dolgoruky. A final decision will be made in the first ten days of December, a source in the commission for testing of the missile says.

2010-10-29 Another succesful Bulava test launch
Today’s planned test launch of Russia’s newest submarine-launched ballistic missile Bulava was successful, and the missile hit its target on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

2010-10-27 Major ICBM drill over the Arctic
Russia prepares to test launch several intercontinental ballistic missiles over the Arctic the next couple of days.

2010-10-26 Next Bulava launch scheduled for October 29
The next test launch of Russia’s troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile is scheduled for October 29, a source in the test flight commission said to RIA Novosti.

2010-10-18 Next Bulava launch “no earlier than November”
This year’s second test launch of the Bulava missile will take place “no earlier than November”, leader of the Russian General Staff says.

2010-10-13 First torpedo tests for Yury Dolgoruky
Russia’s newest strategic submarine “Yury Dolgoruky” is ready for its first torpedo firing, news agency Interfax reports. The submarine will probably launch its first Bulava missile in December.

2010-10-11 Successful Bulava launch opens door for new submarine
Last week’s successful test launch of Russia’s newest missile Bulava opens the road for the Borey-class strategic submarines, a military source says. The next test launch is planned at the end of October.

2010-10-07 Successful launch of Bulava
This year’s first test launch of Russia’s new ballistic missile system Bulava was conducted from the White Sea today. The missile successfully hit its target on the Kura test range in Russia’s Far East Kamchatka region.

2010-10-06 Bulava launch on Thursday
The Typhoon class nuclear submarine ”Dmitry Donskoy” has left port for a test launch from the White Sea of Russia’s ill-fated ballistic missile Bulava.

2010-10-04 Bulava attempt this week
Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief says they will launch the missile later this week.

2010-09-23 Giant sub turns thirty
The first of the Typhoon class submarines, and the only that still remain in service, turns 30-years this week.

2010-09-17 Bulava launches coming up
Should the upcoming three test launches of the Bulava missile fail, consequences will be dire, Russian Minister of Defence Anatoly Seryukov confirms.

2010-09-08 Preparing for new Bulava testing
A total of three test launches of the Bulava missile will be conducted starting from late September, Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov confirms.

2010-09-03 Russia to resume test launches of Bula missile next week
The Russian navy plans to resume test launches of the Bulava ballistic missile between September 9 and 12, a defense industry source said on Friday.

2010-08-10 Planned Bulava launch postponed
Russian military has once again postponed the test launch of the ill-fated Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a navy source says. The first test launch since the development program was halted in December 2009 was to take place this week.

2010-07-29 Russia to resume test launches of Bulava missile in August
Test launches of Russia’s ill-fated Bulava ballistic missile will resume between August 9 and 12, a defense industry source said on Thursday.

2010-07-06 Bulava tests to continue
A state investigation commission recommends that the tests of Russia’s new intercontinental seabased missile should be resumed.

2010-01-11 New Bulava tests this summer
There will be at least two launches from the strategic submarine “Dmitry Donskoy” next summer. If the tests are successful, the program will be continued from the newly constructed nuclear submarine “Yury Dolgoruky”.

2009-12-22 Sevmash confirms freeze of Borei-class construction

Santa Claus is not coming to town when Sevmash celebrates its 70th anniversary today. The keel of the fourth Borei-class strategic sub – to be named Syvatitel Nikolay or St. Nicholas in English - was supposed to be laid on December 22nd

2009-12-15 Next Bulava Launch can take place in January

The next test launch of the Russian ICBM Bulava can take place already in January 2010. Construction of the fourth Borei class submarine will start up as planned in December at the Sevmash shipyard outside Arkhangelsk, a high ranking military source says.

2009-12-10  Russia confirms failed missile launch
More than 24 hours after the incident, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirms that it was a failed Bulava missile launch that caused the strange spiral shaped lights over Northern Norway yesterday.

2009-12-10 Will failed test end the Bulava program?
-It would be logical to close the project and to forget about it as a bad dream, writes the journalist and missile expert Victor Myasnikov in today’s edition of Nesavisimaya Gazeta

2009-12-09 Failed Russian missile visible over Northern Norway

2009-09-15 New head of Bulava production
Sergey Nikulin is appointed Director of the Moscow Heat Technology Institute, where the accident-prone Bulava missile is developed.

2009-08-27 New manufacturer of Bulava missiles
The manufacturer of the high-tech submarine weapon will be shifted, leader of the Russian General Staff confirms.

2009-07-23 Bulava father dismissed
The leading engineer behind the development of the Russian Bulava missile has been dimissed from his job as leader of the Moscow Heat Technology Institute.

2009-07-17 Bulava missile failure adds pressure on Kremlin
The missile, which is intended to become the state of the art Russian submarine armament, the Bulava missile, this week made another failed test launch.

2009-06-19 Yury Dolgoruky left Severodvinsk
Russia’s brand new submarine left the yard today and sailed out in the White Sea.

2009-04-29 Bulava test to be resumed this summer
More land-based bed-tests are necessary before test fires of the Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile can be resumed, Deputy Minister of Defence Vladimir Popovkin says.

2009-03-05 Bulava missiles ready this year
The submarine-based intercontinental nuke-missiles Bulava will be put into service this year despite new delays in the test programme.

2009-02-23 New Bulava launch in March
Test fires of the new Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile will probably be resumed in March.

2009-01-02 Sea trials of “Yury Dolgoruky” have been postponed
The reasons are said to be the accident on the submarine “Nerpa” and the recent failed launch of the new Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile.

2008-12-23 Russian test fire of intercontinental missile failed
Tuesday morning the Russian Navy conducted a test launch of the new Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile. The test ended in failure.

2008-12-16 Final Bulava test launch
Russia plans another test launch of a Bulava missile December 21. If the test is successful, the Russian Navy will put the missile into service. 

2008-12-03 Russia starts serial production of Bulava missiles
 The Bulava sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile will be put in serial production.

2008-11-28 Russia testfired Bulava missile
The Russian Northern Fleet submarine “Dmitrii Donskoy” today successfully testfired a Bulava missile in the Barents Sea.

2008-09-19  Russia successfully testfired the Bulava
Navy officials now confirm that the missile next year will be installed at the country’s first fourth-generation submarine, the “Yuri Dolgorukii”.

2007-09-03 Russia to continue advanced missile tests
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces will conduct more tests of new warheads for its intercontinental ballistic missiles later this year, Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said Saturday.

2007-08-06 Russia to start serial production of new missile system
Head commander of the Russian Navy, Mr. Vladimir Masorin, confirms that the Bulava-M submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missile will be put into production. -Huge funding and intellectual efforts have been invested in the creation of this complex, the navy leader stresses.

2007-06-29 Bulava missile launched from the White Sea
President Vladimir Putin has hailed Bulava as a key component of the nation’s nuclear forces for years to come and has boasted of its ability to penetrate any prospective missile defenses.

2007-04-17 More testing of the Bulava missile coming up
Head of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Techics, Yuri Solomonov, stresses that he is confident that the Russian Bulava-30 missile system is being successfully developed.

2006-10-26 Russian sea-launched ballistic missile test fails
A Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Dmitry Donskoi nuclear submarine in the White Sea self-destructed after it deviated from its trajectory, the Russian Navy press service said Wednesday.

2006-09-11 Northern Fleet failed to launch of Bulava missile in the White Sea
The missile fell in the sea after few minutes of flying.