Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alleged Bulava Launch Success

Commenter Chesapeake Auxie notes that the Russian press is reporting a successful test launch of the Bulava SLBM:

The SSBN Dmitriy Donskoy launched a Bulava SLBM tonight while submurged. The Ministry of Defense told RBK that the training sections of the missile reached the target in the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula. A source noted that, "At the moment information about the launch is being analyzed, but it can already be said that the launch and the flight of the missile proceeded normally".

Comment: I call the launch an "alleged success" because it wouldn't be the first time that a Bulava launch was reported as "successful", but then subsequent information cast doubt on the success of the launch for one reason or another.

Also, intial reporting on missile testing indicated that there would be a Delta IV conducting a short range test launch in the Pacific. It was only a vague speculation/hunch/good analysis by Pavel Podvig at Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces blog that suggested there would be a Bulava launch this week.

And what was this funny shaped closure for? Not for the Bulava test, thats for sure. I thought it might have been for the Delta IV launch as reported by the Russian press, but that seems to not have been the case.

Perhaps the closure was for an SS-N-12 shot that was reported yesterday.

Russia Has More Than One Slava Class Cruiser


17 September - The Slava class missile cruiser Moskva is getting all the press, but lately its the Pacific Fleet flagship Varyag that doing all the shooting:

[The Varyag] successfully completed a long range missile firing on a surface target...

"In the opinion of Rear Admiral Sergey Avakyantsa who led the exercises, the firing conducted by the crew of the Varyag was carried out successfully: the sea target was destroyed with the first missile..."

He said that earlier, the crews of minesweepers successfully carried out several tasks including destruction of sea mines using active line charges. The crews of other ships executed anti-swimmer exercises using hand grenades. It was part of an exercise designed to defend ships at undefended roadsteads from sabateurs (Comment: with places like Tartus in mind, perhaps?).

"The task force carried out effective fire against surface targets using anti-aircraft missiles in a surface to surface role during the maneuvers. This has been done successfully by the Pacific Fleet for ten years now. The sailors of the Black Sea fleet used similar tactics in August against the Georgians in order to force them to peace. The task force also successfully destroyed attacking enemy air forces."


The latest Pacific Fleet exercises are the third in the last month. All have them have bee part of the summer training cycle. More than 50 ships and submarines have taken part in the previous two exercises held off of Kamchatka and Primor'ye as well as elements of naval aviation, coastal defense and marines.

Quick Update - Zvezda News Edition

Fire on the Marshal Shaposhnikov in the Sea of Japan:

According to this report there was a leak which caused fuel to leak under high pressure onto a gas turbine engine and ignited, causing a fire. The BPK was then towed back into Vladivostok. Two contract seamen were killed. Charges are being brought, but against whom is not specified. Blogger KVDM notes that a similar fire hit the Shaposhnikov's sister ship the Admiral Zakharov back in 1991 and that that was the last time the Zakharov went to sea.

For the record, if the Russians are going to have a serious engineering casualty anytime in the next couple of months, I'm glad it was now off Japan and not in a few months off of Venezuela.

Marine landing exercises in the Baltic Fleet:

The report notes that Baltic Fleet Marines conducted a practice landing with counter-reconnaissance as their objective. The equivalent of a battalion landing team supported by an airborne company, engineers, 30 ships and 15 aircraft and helos hit the beach at the Khmelova training range in Kalinigrad, debarking from three large landing ships and air cushion vehicles in 40 armored vehicles with support from offshore destroyers. The role of the sniper in an anti-sniper roll was highlighted.

The Blackjacks are on their way home from Venezuela:

And their families missed them. All together now -!