Successful Bulava missile launch from the White Sea

"Vladimir Monomakh" outside Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk.

Russia’s strategic nuclear-powered submarine «Vladimir Monomakh» has for the first time launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile. According to official sources, the missile hit its target on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.


The launch was made from underwater position in the White Sea on Wednesday morning. The parameters of the missile trajectory were normal and the warheads successfully arrived at the Kura test site on Kamchatka, General Major Igor Konashenkov says to ITAR-TASS.

This is the first time “Vladimir Monomakh” launches a Bulava missile. The submarine was launched from Sevmash shipyard in December 2012, started mooring tests in January 2013 and has been conducting sea trials in the White Sea since June 2014.

Russia has not launched any Bulava missiles since September 2013, when Alexandr Nevsky” fired its first test missile. The launch was unsuccessful and resulted in a halt of all trials of new submarines until the missile system could be further tested. The incident had been caused by production flaws, according to the commission investigating the failed launch.

Test launches of the Bulava have been experiencing significant problems since the start of the project. Of the 19 or 20 test launches that have been done since 2004, eight have been officially declared unsuccessful. However, some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures is considerably higher. Russia has one rebuilt Typhoon class submarine it uses as test platform for the Bulava missiles.  The nearly forty years old “Dmitry Donskoy” is the world’s largest submarine and the only vessel testing the missile system from 2004 until “Yury Dolgoruky” launched its first missile in June 2011.

Vladimir Monomakh” is the third of a total of eight Borey class submarines that Russia plans to build by 2020. The first submarine of the class, “Yury Dolgoruky”, was taken into service in the Northern Fleet in January 2013 after twelve years of construction.

Both “Vladimir Monomakh” and the next submarine of the class, ”Alexandr Nevsky” will probably be put into service in the Pacific Fleet and have base  in Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka .

The construction of “Vladimir Monomakh” started in 2006. It is originally based on an Akula class hull from 1992. The submarine is 170 meters long, can go 29 knots submerged, it has a crew of 107 and will be equipped with 16 Bulava missiles, which each can carry ten nuclear warheads.

The fourth and fifth vessel in the Borey class, “Knyaz Vladimir” and “Knyaz Oleg” are under construction at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. The first one of these two was laid donw in July 2012, the second in July 2014.