MOSCOW — Russia's navy on Friday successfully test-fired an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, the weapon the government hopes will become a key part of the nation's nuclear arsenals, the Defense Ministry said.
The Bulava missile was launched from the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine underwater in the White Sea, and the missile's warheads reached the Kura testing range on the Pacific Kamchatka Peninsula, some 5,500 kilometers (3,500 miles) away, ministry spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov said in televised remarks.
The test was Bulava's third successful launch in a row after a string of failures that raised questions about the future of Russia's most expensive post-Soviet military project.
The Bulava is a three-stage missile that can carry up to 10 individually targeted warheads at a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). Russian officials have boasted of its ability to dodge any potential missile defenses.
Friday's test was the third launched from the Yuri Dolgoruky, a new Borei-class nuclear submarine specifically designed to carry 12 Bulava missiles. The submarine's construction started in 1996 and dragged on due to poor financing.
Several other Borei-class nuclear submarines are under construction, and Russia plans to complete a total of eight subs by 2015. They will gradually replace aging Soviet-built submarines.