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Russian deputy PM urges Roscosmos to focus on Bulava ICBM


MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos must take a proactive stand on the testing and production of sea-based Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, a deputy prime minister said on Monday.

The latest unsuccessful submerged test launch on December 23 from the Dmitry Donskoi strategic nuclear-powered submarine in the White Sea, off Russia's northwest coast, was Bulava's fifth failure in ten trials. The Russian military said that production flaws could be to blame for the unsuccessful test launches.

"There are flaws in the testing of the [Bulava] components on the ground. Often, real tests are substituted by mathematical calculations to match technical requirements," Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting with Russia's space officials.

He reiterated that tests of the sea-launched Bulava missile system would continue until the system is adopted by the Armed Forces.

Russia originally planned for the Bulava to enter service with the Navy in 2009. However, a senior Russian Navy official said earlier that several more test launches should be conducted in 2009 before a final decision to adopt it for service is made.

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) carries up to 10 nuclear warheads and has a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). It is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier said the missile would be a key component of Russia's nuclear forces.

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