14, 2011: Three months ago, Russia announced that one of its older
Delta IV SSBN (nuclear submarine carrying SLBMs) had test fired two of
its Sineva SLBMs (Sea Launched Ballistic Missile). Now it’s been
revealed that one of those missiles was not a Sineva, but a new design
called Liner. Apparently the Liner is a solid fuel missile that will fit
into the silos on the Delta boats.
R-29RM Sineva is the last liquid fuel Russian SLBM in service, and is
used in the Delta class SSBNs. The Cold War era Delta IVs are getting
old, and have only about a decade of useful service left. That’s the
reason only eight of the twelve Delta IVs are available for service. Two
of the new Borei boats are now in service, and its missile tubes are
designed to hold the Bulava (which is 12.1 meters long and two meters in
diameter.) The 40 ton Sineva is 14.8 meters long and 1.8 meters in
diameter. Since little information has been released on the Liner, it’s
unclear if it is short enough fit into the Bulava Silo.
are one of the few weapons that Russia does not export, thus they tend
to be very secretive about these missiles. The Liner appears to have
been a long-shot backup design for the troubled Bulava. But now the
Bulava appears to have overcome its problems, and the Liner is not
needed. Then again, maybe not. It’s also possible that the Liner is an
improved version of Sineva, for there was an earlier Sineva design that
featured more warhead capacity (which the new Liner is supposed to
have). Thus Liner, for the moment, is something of a riddle, wrapped in a
mystery, inside an enigma.