ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, March 29 (UPI) -- Test launches for the submarine-based Bulava missile, a Russian weapon with a history of failures, are scheduled for the fall, the sub builder says.
The intercontinental missile is capable of carrying 10 nuclear weapons a range of 5,000 miles and will be tested in October or November aboard the submarine Alexander Nevsky Project 955, a spokesman for the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corp. said Thursday in St. Petersburg.
Both Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and President Dmitry Medvedev both have said the Bulava will be adopted for service with the Russian navy but analysts say they are worried about the missile's record of performance in tests, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
Only 11 of the 18 test launches were officially declared successful and Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer said that, of the Bulava's first 12 launches, only one was a complete success.
Although the Russian military has acknowledged failures, blamed on manufacturing faults, the Russian military has insisted there is no alternative to the Bulava, the news agency said.