BULAVA BALLISTIC MISSILE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     7th November 2023        

Context: Russia recently carried out a successful test launch of the Bulava ballistic missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Bulava Ballistic Missile

  • The new Russian submarine-launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is known as the Bulava.
  • Development of the Bulava missile began in 1998, with its first powered flight test occurring in September 2005, followed by the first submerged test launch in December of the same year.
  • The Bulava missile is designed to be deployed on Russia's Borey-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).
  • Features
  • It measures 12-13.5 meters in length, has a diameter of about 2.0 meters, and a launch weight of 36,800 kilograms.
  • The Bulava is a three-stage solid-fuel missile capable of carrying multiple warheads, each intended to strike a different target.
  • It can carry up to six Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), which have the ability to maneuver in-flight and retarget to evade hostile air defenses.
  • The missile is reported to have an accuracy of 350 meters.

Ballistic Missile

  • It is a rocket-propelled, self-guided strategic weapon system that adheres to a ballistic trajectory for the delivery of a payload from its launch site to a preselected destination.
  • Initially, ballistic missiles are propelled by one or multiple rocket stages, after which they follow an unpowered trajectory that ascends in an arched path before descending to reach their designated target.
  • Ballistic missiles have the capability to transport either nuclear or conventional warheads.