Russia's Newest Nuclear Submarine Successfully Tests-fires Missile as It Flexes Military Might in the Arctic

Russia has test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile from its newest submarine, part of a fleet that will be the backbone of the country's nuclear deterrent for the next decade.

Russia's defense ministry released footage of the Knyaz Vladimir [Prince Vladimir] firing the Bulava rocket from an underwater position in the White Sea in the northern Arkhangelsk region, which had been closed off to shipping.

The ICBM flew to the Kura test range on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia's far east, with the military saying it arrived on time.

"For the first time, the... strategic submarine Knyaz Vladimir test-launched the sea-based Bulava ballistic missile," the defense ministry said in a statement, carried by the state-run Tass news agency.

The missile can deliver six independently targeted warheads, each equivalent to 150 kilotons of TNT. This means that each missile is between 50 and 60 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which was around 15 kilotons, according to The Knyaz Vladimir can carry up to 16 of these missiles.

Expected to be delivered to Russia's Northern Fleet by the end of the year, the Knyaz Vladimir is the first of seven Borei-II class submarines that will modernize the Russian Navy's fleet.

Arkhangelsk, Russia
The Sevmash factory in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk was where the Knyaz Vladimir submarine was constructed. It test-fired an ICBM missile as Russia shows off its military strength in the Arctic region. ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/Getty Images

Earlier this month, the 37-year-old Delta Class submarine Ryazan had technical problems when only one, instead of two, nuclear missiles were successfully fired at the Chizha test range from the Sea of Okhotsk. Russian President Vladimir Putin was present during large-scale military exercises.

Ten new Borei-class submarines are expected to be added to Russia's navy by 2027: five for the Pacific Fleet and five for the Northern Fleet, The Moscow Times reported.

The Knyaz Vladimir is named after Prince Vladimir, a revered figure in Russia also known as Vladimir the Great.

The vessel is another display of military prowess by Russia, which sailed at least eight-nuclear powered submarines from the Kola Peninsula last week in a major North Atlantic drill, according to Norwegian military intelligence, as cited by The Barents Observer.

In addition to its naval strength, Russia is keen to stake a claim on oil in the Arctic. Last week it unveiled the 8,500-tonne 300-foot long icebreaker Ivan Papanin at the Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Armed with a portable anti-aircraft missile system and able to smash through ice up to six feet thick, the vessel has the capabilities of a tugboat, patrol, icebreaker and a scientific vessel, and is expected to be commissioned in the next three years.