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Russia's new submarine test-fires ballistic missile

Chase Winter
October 30, 2019

Russia has successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from its newest nuclear-powered submarine. It comes as Russia is carrying out nuclear and submarine modernization.

Russian nuclear submarine ballistic missile test
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/TASS/V. Ivashchenko

Russia's newest nuclear-powered submarine successfully test-fired a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.

The submerged Prince Vladimir fired the unarmed missile a distance of around 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) from the White Sea to a test site in the Kamchatka peninsula in far eastern Russia.

Read more: What is an intercontinental ballistic missile?

The Prince Vladimir is the first upgraded 955A model of Russia's Borei class strategic submarines, designed with better stealth, maneuverability and armament capabilities.

It is currently being tested ahead of being delivered to the navy's Northern Fleet in December, the fleet's commander Vice Admiral Moiseyev told TASS state news agency.

Three other Borei class submarines have already been delivered to the navy and four more are being built at the Sevmash shipyard. Each Borei class submarine can carry 16 Bulava missiles.

The launch comes as Cold War-era arms control treaties between Moscow and Washington are under strain since the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The New START treaty, which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads the world's two biggest nuclear powers can deploy, is due to expire in 2021.

In early October, the US Air Force successfully tested an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a distance of nearly 6,760 kilometers.

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