RSM-56 Bulava

Bulava variants

Bulava (Russian Булава; Russian for Mace, erroneously as mace translated) (NATO Code: SS-N- 32; GRAU index: 3m30 ) is a submarine -based intercontinental ballistic missile ( SLBM ) from Russian production. The index system of the Russian armed forces is RSM -56 Bulava.


The system development started shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992. For the development of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile Topol many components of M were taken (RS- 12PM ). The development program of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT ) was delayed compared to the original plans, however, by up to five years. The decision on the development of the Bulava has been taken in 1998 by Vladimir Kuroyedov, commander of the Russian naval forces, after three failed tests of intercontinental ballistic testing solid rocket " Bark". On 27 December 2011, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Bulava tests for complete and informed about the launch of the rocket in the sea-based strategic nuclear forces of Russia.


The SS-N- 30 is a three-stage SLBM whose first two stages is equipped with a solid-fuel rocket engine and the third stage liquid rocket engine. The third stage is intended to provide the necessary speed during the separation of warheads and better maneuverability. The control of the SS N-30 by means of an inertial navigation platform, as well as an electro-optical system for astrogation. There is achieved a precision (CEP) of less than 350 m. The missiles can be fired from the surfaced or from the submerged submarine.

The Bulava making all strategic objectives, such as combat hardened missile silos and underground command bunker. U.S. and NATO experts see the Bulava as Erstschlagswaffe, with but also a successful second strike can be performed.

Test series

The series of failed tests called particularly in 2009 in Russia among professionals a discussion on the alignment of the strategic arms program out. This intensified after the aborted October test on 9 December 2009 was rescheduled and failed again due to a malfunction of the third stage of the rocket.

Bulava -M missile should be introduced initially in 2009 in the Russian Navy. Also a mobile, vehicle-mounted version is planned. The Bulava will be the main armament of the new submarines of the Borei class (Project 955 ). Each of these submarines can be equipped with 16 R -30 missiles. All tests on the new submarine class from June to December 2011 with the boat K -535 Yuri Dolgoruky were successful. End of December 2011 declared Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the test phase is completed and the new missiles are to be taken in the coming period in operation.

Chronology of the test series


One of the third stage of a Bulawarakete misfire said to have been responsible for a spectacular spiral light phenomenon over Norway on 9 December 2009.