MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian nuclear submarine taking part in military exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin failed to test fire an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, the Vedomosti daily reported on Monday.
The nuclear submarine K-44 Ryazan, part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, was meant to launch two R-29R ballistic missiles from the Sea of Okhotsk on Oct. 17, but fired only one successfully with the other remaining in its tube onboard the submarine, Vedomosti reported, citing two people close to the Ministry of Defence.
The incident occurred on the same day as Putin oversaw the drills from a command centre at the Defence Ministry in Moscow.
The aborted drill was part of wider war games for Russia’s armed forces, known as ‘Thunder 2019,’ which were designed to test the readiness of the country’s strategic forces for a nuclear conflict.
The exercises took place in Russia’s Far East and Far North from Oct. 15-17 and involved about 12,000 military personnel, more than 100 aircraft and five submarines, the defence ministry said in a statement. The naval part of the exercise covered the Barents, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Okhotsk seas.
The K-44 Ryazan was first brought into service during the 1980s, but has undergone modernisation since then.
The launch of the R-29R missiles during the training exercise was necessary to keep them operational, a person close to the Navy’s general staff told Vedomosti, saying that they were nearing the end of their service life.
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Osborn)