Russia has carried out a successful test of its new Bulava missile capable of striking with 100 times the force of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
The12-metre long intercontinental missile designed to carry six to ten nuclear warheads, was launched from aboard a submarine in the White Sea and hit its target in Russia’s far east, Russia’s Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov revealed.
"In October and November of this year, the naval fleet will carry out two more launches with two rocket cruisers equipped with ballistic missiles," Interfax quoted Chirkov as saying.
The Bulava, Russian for mace, missiles weigh 36.8 tonnes each and can travel up to 8,000km.
In development since the 1990s, Bulava is currently Russia’s most expensive weapons project. Conceived as a future cornerstone of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the project has previously been plagued by technical faults and failures.
By 2009, the missile failed five times in 11 tests, prompting the chief designer Yury Solomonov to resign. After its deployment in 2013, the first batch of missiles was recalled back for factory inspections after another failed launch.
Russia is planning to spend over 20 trillion roubles (£331bn) on the modernisation of its army, which still largely relies on Soviet-era weapons and arms technologies.
Speaking shortly after the test, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that nuclear deterrence must be Russia's priority to counter what he called growing security threats.
Speaking to a meeting of government defence officials in Kremlin on Wednesday, Putin said Russia has to become more independent on foreign defence imports and develop its own capabilities over the next few years, including high precision weapons.
"We need a reliable and complete assessment of the potential threats to Russia's military security. For each of these threats, a sufficient, adequate response should be found," Putin said.
"First of all, we are talking about creating a rational series of assault capabilities, including maintaining a guaranteed solution to the task of nuclear deterrence."
Putin indicated Russia has to arm itself as a response to the growing tension with the West over the crisis in Ukraine, which, he said, prompted Nato to ‘resuscitate itself.’
The country’s armed forces have boosted their military training and test drills since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia considers in its traditional sphere of influence.