Russian Navy announces plans to test-fire nuclear missiles
Aug 5, 2007, 14:59 GMT
Moscow - The Russian Navy announced plans Sunday to test- fire a series of nuclear missiles amid an ongoing dispute with the United States over Washington's plans to locate parts of a missile- defence shield in former Soviet allies Poland and the Czech Republic.
The Russian fleet would test-fire two of its new Bulava-M long- range missiles over their full range, Admiral Vladimir Masorin was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
Further tests of the latest experimental series would take place by 2008, Masorin said.
Following the tests, the ballistic weapons with a range of more than 8,000 kilometres would enter service, Masorin said.
Russia has repeatedly demonstrated its military capabilities since the row erupted over Washington's plans to locate defensive missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.
Russia feels its security threatened by the US plans, which Washington says are necessary to prevent attacks from Iran.
Washington and Moscow are currently discussing Russian offers to cooperate on a missile-defence system.
Masorin referred to the strategic realignment of the Russian fleet Sunday. 'We will have to continue firing as we can today, and from different locations, so therefore we have to be completely clear about the capabilities of the missiles,' Masorin said.
After each of the previous tests 'colossal intellectual and financial efforts' had been undertaken to further refine the missile design.
Following the most recent successful Bulava tests at the end of June, parts of the new missiles had already gone into mass production, Masorin said.
The missiles were expected to be deployed in three new massive Borey-class atomic submarines, at first on the newest craft called the Yuri Dolgoruki.
Up to 20 ballistic missiles, each carrying 10 warheads, can be placed on each sub.
The nuclear warheads feature special protection that prevents them from being intercepted.
Russia has been testing the missiles since 2005, mostly fired from the White Sea, or Beloye More, and landing on the far east Russian peninsula of Kamchatka.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur