Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paper Calls B.S. On Bulava

The editors of the Independent Military Review better watch out or Putin thugs will make sure they will fall out an apartment window like Ivan Safronov:

Editorial: There Is Nothing To Celebrate.
The outbreak of celebrations in the Russian press after the Bulava launch on 18 September was based exclusively on cheap words from representatives of the MoD. Nobody even deigned to look into them more carefully. It is worthwhile. Especially instructive is this passage: “…at 1905 Moscow time the training section reached the target at the Kura test range”. That immediately raises a question: if the launch was a test launch, why was there a practice unit? What does that mean?

It means this: the Bulava didn’t carry anything, not even carrying a mock up of its regular warheads. And nothing fell in the 800,000 hectare Kura test range on Kamchatka. It missed and not a thing hit the “battlefield”.

In November 2007, almost a year ago, the previous Bulava test flight finished 23 seconds after failure of the first stage. Then it was announced that it needed 12-14 additional test launches to reach operational readiness and be accepted into service. While the next Bulava succeeded in not blowing up immediately upon launch, it is still far from being ready for acceptance.

In 1998, when the leadership at the Ministry of Defense and the government canceled the Miass Missile Center-made Bark SLBM in order to redirect money to the Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), which is physically closer to Moscow, it was announced that the new Bulava missile would be accepted into service in 2005. The chief argument was the project cost savings. They said that they would adapt the land-based Topol’ (SS-25/27) for submarines. Experts warned that water and air were two different physical states and nothing good would come of it.

The Bulava project was valued at 227 million dollars and the cost of a missile around 10 million dollars. The real expenditure hasn’t been calculated, but MITT received 14 billion rubles for the project in 2004. It is obvious that Bulava has swallowed at least 300 million dollars over the last 10 years. […]

Its defenders assert that the country will get the 10 warhead super-weapon. But it must be said that the Bulava throw weight is 1.15 tons. It is the most important missile parameter which characterizes its combat effectiveness. That includes not only the warheads, but also the last stage consisting of the bus, guidance system and fuel. What room is left for warheads?

Take for example the Sineva with a throw weight of 2.15 tons with four medium or ten light warheads. There is a suspicion that miniaturized warheads for the Bulava still haven’t been developed. Most shamefully, the 12 Bulavas on the SSBN Yuri Dolgorukiy will have an aggregate throw weight 4.9 times less than an Ohio SSBN with the solid fuelled Trident II missile.

So for now the victorious fanfare is cancelled while the budgetary allocations flew down the tubes.


Patton said...

Question: I guess I'm not up to snuff on missile terms. What does "aggregate throw weight" mean?

russiannavyblog said...

throw weight is how much weight the missile can put on target. It is the size of the missile's payload.

Anonymous said...

While Bulova is a sham, it absolutely does not imply that NVO (aka Independent Military Review) is not. This all is much more complex than it appears on the surface.

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