Russia’s re-emerging submarine force has suffered more setbacks, with another unsuccessful Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile test and yet another serious fire caused by negligence. The first test firing of a Bulava SLBM from the newly-completed Aleksandr Nevsky failed when the missile malfunctioned during flight after being launched.

The submarine had been scheduled for handover to the navy on 15 November, and was to be followed by the third of class, Vladimir Monomakh, in mid-December. This will now be delayed until the missile system can be certified after further tests.

In another blow for the navy, a cruise missile submarine has been damaged by fire while in the hands of a shipyard. The blaze on the Project 949A (Oscar II) SSGN K-150 Tomsk lasted for five hours. The incident led to the dismissal of the shipyard chief and is now the subject of a criminal investigation. This was the fourth submarine fire incident since 2006, and the sixth major incident aboard a Russian submarine since the loss of the ill-fated Kursk in 2000.

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