The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) released a footage showing four Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) being launched in succession from Russian Navy Borei-class ballistic missile submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky, this week.
The salvo launch of four ballistic missiles was conducted in around 20 seconds. At this rate, the submarine can launch all of its 16 SLBMs in around a minute.
Four Bulava SLBMs can deliver a total of 24 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads with a yield of around 2,400 kilotons which is 160 times the yield of the nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima.
RSM-56 Bulava (NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 or SS-N-32) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) developed for the Russian Navy and deployed in 2013 on the new Project 955/955A Borei-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
Bulava is intended as the future cornerstone of Russia’s nuclear triad, and is the most expensive weapons project in the country. The weapon takes its name from bulava, a Russian word for mace. Bulava has 35% greater range and a 50 percent higher throw-weight than the 1979 American Trident C4 missile.
Designed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, development of the missile was launched in the late 1990s as a replacement for the R-39 Rif solid-fuel SLBM.
The missiles has an operational range of 8,000-8,300 km. Some reports suggests that the missile can reach beyond 10,000 km. Each missile can carry 6 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warheads. The accuracy of the warheads is 350m circular error probable (CEP).
The Project 955/955A Borei-class submarines carry 16 missiles per vessel. Development and deployment of the Bulava missile within the Russian Navy is not affected by the enforcement of the new START treaty.
The missile was officially approved for service on 27 December 2011, and was commissioned aboard K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy, the first Borei-class submarine, on 10 January 2013. Borei-class submarines carrying Bulava missiles are expected to be an integral part of the Russian nuclear triad until 2040.