Encyclopedia Astronautica
Bulava


Russian solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with up to ten multiple independently targeted warheads. The first post-Soviet Russian ballistic missile, it was designed to provide Russia's submarine-launched deterrent by the third decade of the 21st Century.

Twelve Bulava missiles were to be installed in each of six of the new Mark 955 Borei-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

Development of the Bulava missile began in 1999. Originally a different new solid-propellant missile was developed to that would fit in the existing R-39 missile tubes of the Typhoon-class submarines. The keel of the first Project 955 submarine, the Yuri Dolgoruky, was laid down at the Severodvinsk Nuclear Shipbuilding Centre in Arkhangelsk in 1996, and was to have entered service in 2001, replacing earlier Project 941 Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarines equipped with R-39 missiles. However the new solid-propellant ballistic missile failed in all three of its initial development tests in the late 1990's. That missile was cancelled and the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute was ordered to develop a new missile, the Bulava, in its place. The Yuri Dolgoruky, already in construction, had to be redesigned. The Typhoon-class SSBN selected for testing the Bulava, the Dmitry Donskoi, had to be heavily modified to Project 941UM standard. All of this resulted in the first test of the new missile being delayed to 2005, over seven years late to the original schedule.

In February 2004 President Putin claimed that the Bulava MIRV warheads could breach any available or potential anti-ballistic missile system. This presumably meant that they can maneuver after separation from the warhead bus, either in space or during reentry or both. Russia's Navy expected to commission the Yuri Dolgorukiy by 2006 and take delivery of at least two other submarines of the class by 2010. The keel of the second Mk 955, the Alexander Nevskiy was laid March 19, 2004 at the Sevmashpredpriyatiye shipyard.

The Bulava missile is significantly smaller than the R-39 series -- in fact, it is more like a solid-fuel replacement for the R-29 series. With a mass similar to the Minuteman 3, it would have an intercontinental throw weight of over a tonne. This in turn meant that its stated capability to carry as many as ten warheads could only be accomplished at ranges of around 7000 to 8000 km. Russian officials have reported that land-mobile versions of the missile will also be developed.

Official Characteristics as declared under START-2 Treaty:

  • Length of assembled missile without front section: 11.5 m
  • Maximum diameter of missile airframe (without stabilizers, raceways, protruding elements): 2.00 m
  • Launch weight: 36.8 tonnes
  • Total length of missile as a unit with launch canister (with front section): 12.1 m
  • Length of launch canister body. M: 12.1 m
  • Diameter of launch canister body (without protruding elements): 2.1 m
  • First stage:
    • Stage length: 3.8 m
    • Stage diameter: 2.00 m
    • Weight of fully loaded stage: 18.6 tonnes
  • Second stage diameter: 2.00 m
  • Third stage diameter: 2.00 m

    Official Characteristics as declared under START-2 Treaty:

  • Number of stages: 3
  • Length of assembled missile without front section: 17.9 m
  • Maximum diameter of missile airframe (without stabilizers, raceways, protruding elements): 1.86 m
  • Launch weight: 47.2 tonnes
  • Total length of missile as a unit with launch canister (with front section): 22.7 m
  • Total length of missile as a unit with launch canister (without front section): 19.4 m
  • Length of launch canister body: 19.4 m
  • Diameter of launch canister body (without protruding elements): 1.95 m
  • First stage:
    • Stage length: 8.04 m
    • Stage diameter: 1.86 m
    • Weight of fully loaded stage: 28.6 tonnes
  • Second stage diameter: 1.61 m
  • Third stage diameter: 1.58 m

    Failures: 4. Success Rate: 63.64%. First Fail Date: 2006-09-07. Last Fail Date: 2007-11-10. Launch data is: continuing. Maximum range: 10,500 km (6,500 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 10. Boost Propulsion: Solid rocket. Initial Operational Capability: 2007.

    AKA: RSM-56; SS-NX-30; Mace; D-19M; 3M30.
    Status: Active.
    Gross mass: 36,800 kg (81,100 lb).
    Height: 12.10 m (39.60 ft).
    Diameter: 2.00 m (6.50 ft).
    Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
    First Launch: 2004.09.23.
    Last Launch: 2011.08.27.
    Number: 18 .

    More... - Chronology...


    Associated Countries
    See also
    • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

    Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
    • Nadiradze Russian manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Nadiradze, Russia. More...

    Bibliography
    • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

    Associated Launch Sites
    • White Sea Launch Area Submarine-launched ballistic missile area known to have been used for 27 launches from 1955 to 2007, reaching up to 1000 kilometers altitude. More...
    • Barents Sea Launch Area Submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area known to have been used for 119 launches from 1965 to 2007, reaching up to 1270 kilometers altitude. More...

    Associated Stages
    • Topol'-M-1 Solid rocket stage. 980.00 kN (220,313 lbf) thrust. Mass 26,000 kg (57,320 lb). More...
    • Topol'-M-2 Solid rocket stage. 490.00 kN (110,156 lbf) thrust. Mass 13,000 kg (28,660 lb). More...
    • Topol'-M-3 Solid rocket stage. 245.00 kN (55,078 lbf) thrust. Mass 6,000 kg (13,228 lb). More...

    Bulava Chronology


    2004 September 23 - . Launch Site: Barents Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 69.5 N x 34.2 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava cold-launch test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Summary: Test of naval version of Topol M ICBM. A mass replica of a the new Bulava SLBM reached under 100 m altitude after being launched from the submerged SSBN Dmitry Donskoi..

    2004 December 11 - . Launch Site: Barents Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 69.5 N x 34.2 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava cold-launch test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Summary: A mass replica of a the new Bulava SLBM was ejected from its launch tube from the surfaced SSBN Dmitry Donskoi..

    2005 September 27 - . 13:22 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava SLBM first flight. - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: SLBM Development - first flight of new SLBM. Launched from TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy in the White Sea Launch Area..

    2005 December 21 - . 05:19 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava SLBM test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: First submerged launch of the Bulava SLBM. Hit the designated impact area at Kura in the Kamchatka Peninsula..

    2006 September 7 - . 15:50 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. FAILURE: Failure.
    • Bulava SLBM test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    2006 October 25 - . 13:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. FAILURE: Failure.
    • Bulava SLBM test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

    2006 December 24 - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. FAILURE: Failure.
    • - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    2007 June 28 - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava SLBM test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: The warhead impacted on target in the Kamchatka Peninsula. This was the first successful launch after two consecutive failures..

    2007 November 10 - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: 65.5 N x 38.0 E. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. FAILURE: Failure.
    • R&D - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    2008 September 18 - . 14:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. LV Configuration: Bulava R-30 08.
    • Kura - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

    2008 November 28 - . Launch Site: Barents Sea. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    2008 December 23 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Barents Sea. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • RV-1 - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Class: Technology. Type: Technology satellite. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

    2009 July 15 - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava. LV Configuration: Bulava R-30 11 3M30.
    • St 1 fail (Kura) - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

    2009 December 9 - . 06:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • Bulava test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Summary: Failed Bulava launch. Third stage went into a wild spiral maneuver, creating a tremendous celestial spectacle visible all over Scandinavia..

    2010 October 7 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • RV x 3 - . Nation: Russia. Agency: VMF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: R&D test..

    2010 October 29 - . 02:10 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Platform: TK-208. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • RV x 3 - . Nation: Russia. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: R&D test..

    2011 June 28 - . 11:55 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Platform: K-535. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • RV x 6 - . Nation: Russia. Summary: Operational test; from the White Sea to the Kura test range in Kamchatka. This was the first launch from the new 955-class submarine K-535 Yuri Dolgorukiy..

    2011 August 27 - . 03:20 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sea Launch Area. Launch Platform: K-535. LV Family: Bulava. Launch Vehicle: Bulava.
    • RV x 6 - . Nation: Russia. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: Test mission. Launched from the White Sea to an impact point in the Pacific Ocean..

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