Myasnikov recounts delays this fall in conducting the missile’s 12th test firing. He recalls the story of how the project was given to MIT under the apparently ill-conceived thought of unifying naval and land-based strategic missiles. Meanwhile, the SS-N-20 follow-on missile Bark, and the TYPHOON SSBNs to carry it, basically went away. The Defense Ministry refuses to return to stand tests for Bulava. Myasnikov says test missiles alone may have already run $3 billion. The rest of the Navy is starved for resources, but Bulava has a strong lobby to keep it going.
D. Litovkin wonders whether it is Bulava’s control systems or poor manufacturing. He wants to believe the system will work, but notes that time is running out for the current DELTA IV SSBN force, even with overhaul and modernization.
ITAR-TASS says the Defense Ministry blames a defect in the third-stage engine.