December 17, 2015

Trident D5 and Bulava SLBMs compared

The Bulava (Russia's latest SLBM) is much lighter and shorter ranged than the Trident D5 (on left)  - I wonder why? 

Does the Trident D5 need to be longer ranged when launched from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, traveingl over the Russian landmass (much larger than the US) then hit missles in their silos in central Russia?


13.42 m
12.1 m
  2.11 m
2.0 m
Launch Weight:
59,090 kg
36,800 kg
Up to 8 MIRV Mk 4 or Mk 5 warheads, 2,800 kg
One to six MIRV, 1,150 kg
Nuclear 100 kt or 475 kT
Nuclear, 100-150 kT
Three-stage solid propellant
Three-stage solid propellant
12,000 km
8,300 km
In Service:

Presumably the Trident is also much more accurate than the Bulava?

Predictably the Bulava has MIRV capability.

A Russian Borey-class nuclear submarine successfully test-fired a Bulava strategic missile, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The ballistic missile was launched from a submerged position with all 16 rockets onboard the sub during the test.



Anonymous said...

If the ranges are remotely accurate it would seem like Trident was designed to ensure that the US could hold at threat the whole of the USSR from either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Pretty important due to the size of the soviet submarine fleet and the emphasis the US/UK place on sea based nuclear forces.

The Bulava being of a newer design is supposed to have a flatter trajectory with more emphasis on avoiding BMD systems which would naturally limit it's range somewhat. It would make sense due to the effort put into Star Wars by the USAF and the modern day deployment of BMD systems. Strategically the Russian land based nuclear component is also likely more survivable so there is less emphasis on a sea based nuclear component.

Pete said...

Hi Anonymous

Thanks for your response.

Along with the Atlantic and Pacific the Trident's extended range would also permit any Ohio subs in the Indian Ocean to hit most/all of Russia and more certainly China.

Yes with Russia's concern and protests about the West improving BMDs the advanced Bulava (low trajectory, maneouvrability and decoys) would provide a more formidable response than older style SLBMs.

The sheer size of the Russian landmass would certainly give those on mobile and silo deployments in central Russia more minutes warning than in the smaller US landmass.

Interesting references are



burritolikethesun said...

The D5 is technically capable of up to 14 RVs, limited by treaty obligations, no?

Anonymous said...

Soon india will enter the race with russian made system copied in india and named after some funny mythical character.