Tuesday, January 31, 2006

UPDATE- Moscow Response to U.S. Star Wars Defense: Bulava Missiles

President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system, Russian news reports said.

Putin said the new missiles were capable of changing both the altitude and direction of flight, making impossible enemy interception success. "A missile defense system is designed to counter missiles moving along a ballistic trajectory," Putin was quoted as saying. Putin claims Russia's Bulava missiles easily change trajectories during flight, as required.

Will Russia place the new missiles on its submarines? Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn't say whether the Russian military already had commissioned any such missiles., but as Molten Eagle note 4 days ago here, Russian is laying the keel of the third strategic submarine of the new Borey-class, constructed to carry the new solid-propellant, 10-warhead maneuverable Bulava missiles.

The Bulava missile (RSM-56) fits modified Typhoon submarines. Moscow has not publicized the solid-fuel missile’s payload, but general speculation is it carries 10 nuclear warheads. Three new Project 955 (Borey-class) submarines are undergoing construction to be outfitted with the missiles, by 2007.

Project 955 is smaller than Project 941 (shown above) 101 and its silhouette is similar to Project 667 BDRM (a.k.a. Delta IV, a.k.a. Delphin). Like Project 667 BDRM, Project 955's missile tubes are located behind the sail; Borey will carry 12 SLBMs (Project 667 BDRM: 16, Project 941: 20). Project 955's abovewater displacement is estimated by U.S. sources at 18,000 to 20,000 tons. 103. Its underwater displacement is actually smaller than even that of Project 667 BDRM at some 17, 100 tons (667 BDRM: 18,200 tons, 941: 48,000 tons). 104


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