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From Under The Sea And Into Space

File image of a Bulava-class launch from a submarine.
by Andrei Kislyakov
RIA Novosti political commentator
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jul 09, 2007
Russian Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov recently congratulated Yury Solomonov, general designer of the Moscow Heat Technology Institute, on the successful submarine launch of a new sea-based strategic missile, the Bulava, which was developed by his institute. The launch was part of a series of flight tests. Such publicity given to an event so ordinary and routine may seem strange, but only at first glance.

It was not on the spur of the moment that Russia's aerospace industry's top man congratulated the developers of the missile. The successful lift-off of the Bulava on June 27 not only broke the streak of bad luck that had dogged the missile, but has also offered hope for a revival of the sea component of the Russian nuclear triad.

Historically, the U.S.S.R. and later Russia have preferred to the base their strategic nuclear forces on the ground, giving second place to strategic aviation and missile-carrying submarines.

In all probability, there were several reasons for this. To begin with, the ground forces have always outstripped the naval forces in development. Second, sad as it sounds, Soviet strategic bomber aviation was way behind that of the potential opponent. And, most important of all, both sea- and air-based carriers, themselves highly technical machines, needed a high level of logistical support, which at all times in all of the armed forces has only been provided when funds were left over from other projects.

On the other hand, it is not true that the Soviet leadership paid too little attention to sea-launched missiles. On the contrary. Within a short period of time, through super-human efforts and inconceivable costs, the U.S.S.R. was able to outnumber the United States in nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines and their missiles. Admittedly, the reasons had more to do with politics and intimidation than military and technological advantages.

Here is an excerpt from the 1979 Agreed Statement to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT-II):

"Modern submarine-launched ballistic missiles are: for the United States of America, missiles installed in all nuclear-powered submarines; for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, missiles of the type installed in nuclear-powered submarines made operational since 1965."

The "noble-minded" Americans magnanimously decided not to count the first generation of Soviet sea-launched nuclear weapons, believing, with reason, that they posed no threat. But the Soviet leadership was perfectly aware of that, too. So, beginning in April 1962, a real effort was mounted to improve this state of affairs by commissioning the development of a new missile, the R-27, from Vladimir Makeyev's design bureau. A companion project was launched to develop the new Navaga-class submarine.

The new missile was launched from a submarine as early as September 1967. The first twin launch followed within six days; and in December 1969, the world's first salvo of eight R-27 missiles was fired. The Navaga-class nuclear-powered missile-carrying submarines became the largest series of Soviet submarines equipped with strategic weapons. In 1975, the U.S.S.R. outstripped the United States in the number of missile-carrying submarines and missiles. The following short table makes for impressive reading:

1960: U.S. - 3 submarines and 48 missiles (3-48); U.S.S.R.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Russia Proton-M Booster Puts US Satellite Into Orbit
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (RIA Novosti) Jul 09, 2007
A Russian Proton-M carrier rocket has successfully delivered U.S. telecommunications satellite, DirecTV-10, into orbit, Russia's space agency said. The rocket, powered by a Briz-M booster was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 5.16 a.m. Moscow time Saturday (1.16 a.m. GMT). The launch services were provided by International Launch Services, a U.S.-Russian joint venture with exclusive rights for worldwide commercial sales and mission management of satellite launches on Russia's Proton carrier rockets.

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