Newly-minted First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin told RIA Novosti Wednesday that the State Inter-Departmental Commission on the Bulava SLBM completed its work in June, concluding that it’s essential to continue testing the missile.
Speaking at the international forum ‘Technologies in Machinebuilding – 2010’ in Zhukovskiy, Popovkin said:
“The state commission created to study the causes of recent failed Bulava launches completed its work in June and came to a conclusion about the necessity and possibility of conducting further testing.”
As noted in Grani.ru, Popovkin had no comments about other findings by the commission.
Krasnaya zvezda echoed an Interfaks report in which Popovkin was asked whether there will be a salvo firing of two or more Bulava missiles from the same SSBN. He responded:
“Let us conduct one launch, and then we’ll announce plans for further testing.”
According to this report, Popovkin said the testing program calls for a minimum of three launches in 2010.
Only 5 of 12 Bulava tests have been successful, and its last test on 9 December failed as well.
Recall that in May Defense Minister Serdyukov said renewed Bulava testing would be put off until fall, allowing time to exert control over the missile assembly process to help identify possible technical defects. He said three identical missiles would be produced in the effort to ferret out flaws in them.
Meanwhile, on 30 June, a source in the missile and space industry told ITAR-TASS that the RVSN’s new RS-24 Yars ICBM has already been placed on combat duty. Earlier an MIT source had said one RS-24 was on ‘experimental-combat duty’ with the RVSN.