Russia’s new nuclear submarine test launches Bulava intercontinental missile

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Russia's new nuclear-powered submarine Imperator Alexander III test launches the Bulava ballistic missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads, from the White Sea, in this image taken from video released November 5, 2023. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Russia’s new nuclear-powered submarine Imperator Alexander III carried out a successful test launch of the Bulava ballistic missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads, the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday.

“Firing a ballistic missile is the final element of state tests, after which a decision will be made to accept the cruiser into the Navy,” the defence ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

President Vladimir Putin has been pushing for Russia to maintain its nuclear deterrent to counter what he calls growing security threats, as ties between Moscow and the West have hit new lows over the war Russia launched in Ukraine in 2022.

The intercontinental missile, launched from an underwater position in the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast, hit a target thousands of kilometres away on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, it said.

The ministry did not say when the test occurred.

The Borei class strategic-missile cruiser is equipped with 16 Bulava missiles and modern torpedo weapons, it said.

Putin took part in a ceremony in December setting the Imperator Alexander III afloat, TASS state news agency said.

The navy has three nuclear-powered submarines of the Borei class in service – one is completing tests and three more are under construction, the defence ministry said.

The 12-metre (40-foot) long Bulava missile, which has an estimated range of around 8,000 km (5,000 miles) and can carry up to six nuclear warheads, has become the cornerstone in the naval part of Russia’s nuclear triad.

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