MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia successfully tested on Tuesday its new Bulava intercontinental missile which Moscow aims to make the cornerstone of its nuclear arsenal over the next decade.
The Defense Ministry said the 12-meter long Bulava, or Mace, fired from a submarine near Russia's border with Finland, successfully hit its target some 6,000 km (3,370 miles) away on the peninsula of Kamchatka in Russia's far east.
"The launch was successful in all respects. The Bulava missile delivered its warhead to the target area in the Kura testing site in the Kamchatka Peninsula region," spokesman Colonel Igor Konashenkov told Interfax.
The Bulava, which will face four more trials this year before being introduced into service this year or next, had failed half of its previous fourteen trials, calling into question the expensive missile program.
Russia is looking to modernize its rusting armaments, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to spend nearly 20 trillion roubles ($710 billion) over the next ten years to upgrade the country's crumbling armed forces.
The launch was carried out on Tuesday from the Yuri Dolgorukiy submarine, a new generation of Borei-class vessels, designed to carry to Bulava missiles, which weigh 36.8 tonnes and can travel a distance of 8,000 km (5,000 miles).
One missile can hold 6-10 nuclear warheads, which would deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.
($1 = 28.222 Russian Roubles)
(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Peter Graff)