Russia Readies Deadly New ICBM

( – Vladimir Putin’s regime says it has achieved a major update to its nuclear missile forces. A top Russian missile designer claims the new SS-NX-32 “Bulava” missile is now ready to deploy on the country’s missile submarines. If true, a long-running crisis in the Russian Navy’s strategic fleet is now over.

When the Cold War ended, and the USSR fell apart, Russia’s navy was left with a ramshackle fleet of ballistic missile submarines made up of several different types, from the huge Typhoon-class boats made famous by “The Hunt for Red October” to the elderly and unsafe Yankee-class. In 1996, work started on the first Borei-class boat, a more modern design that was supposed to replace all the older ones; however, it was 2013 before the boat was finally commissioned, and then the navy faced another problem — there were no missiles for it.

The Borei was designed to carry twelve SS-NX-28 Bark missiles, but after all three test launches exploded in the late 1990s, this weapon was abandoned. Instead, the submarine was redesigned to hold 16 smaller SS-NX-32 Bulavas, a new missile developed from the land-launched SS-27 Sickle B, known in Russia as the Topol-M. Despite several failed tests, the first Bulava missiles entered service in 2013 and were loaded into Borei-class boats — but after another test failed that September, all the missiles were recalled to the factory for more work.

Bulava missiles reappeared in 2018 and the Russian Navy announced that they’d been accepted for service on the Borei boats. Then, on May 7 this year, Chief Designer Yuri Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology — who designed the weapon — announced that it had officially entered service.

It’s slightly unusual for a weapon to enter service three times over an 11-year period, suggesting there were more problems with the Bulava since 2018. However, if it’s finally operational, Russia has a powerful new nuclear force.

Right now the Russian Navy operates four Delta IV-class missile submarines, which have modern missiles but are all between 34 and 40 years old, and seven Boreis. The plan is to replace the Delta IVs with seven more Boreis, three of which are currently being built. Now those submarines could finally be carrying operational missiles — and their weapons could be aimed at us.

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