Bulava designer Yuriy Solomonov seems to have come out from underground now that the Bulava SLBM has some successes under its belt.
Yesterday the Russian media carried excerpts from a soon-to-be-published interview with Igor Korotchenko’s Natsionalnaya oborona.
Solomonov already has a book about his adventures in missile design to his credit. The only thing that’s changed is the Bulava program seems to be righting itself.
Solomonov said, not surprisingly, that the Bulava’s warheads are ready, and he expects the missile to stay in the inventory until 2050.
He expects Votkinsk to ramp up for Bulava production. He noted that, for a facility that produced 100 missiles a year in Soviet times, “Now there isn’t any kind of problem from the point of view of organizing the technological process and organizing people for this task.”
Solomonov said Borey-class SSBN Yuriy Dolgorukiy will begin (like Dmitriy Donskoy did) with a surface test launch. But he doesn’t rule out that this could be changed to a submerged launch. The tentative date is 17 December.
He forecasts 4 tests in 2011, the start of serial Bulava production, and possibly the missile’s acceptance into the Navy arsenal, if it achieves a “high reliability coefficient.”
In the interview, Solomonov apparently will talk about how Bulava could be adapted into a ground-launched missile. This brings back the whole issue of “inter-service unification,” which led to some of the excitement with Bulava.
Svpressa.ru and Anatoliy Tsyganok have a good time lambasting Solomonov for this (again) if you want to take a look.