As it turned out, flight tests of the Bulava SLBM were supposed to begin in 2004 and some people even belived that they would (keeping with the old Soviet tradition to do a lot of things in the last few days of December). But this was certainly too optimistic - in September the missile was still at the stage of "pop-up tests", which did not involve firing a motor.

The plan now is to deploy the first submarine with the Bulava missile in 2007, but this seems to be overly optimistic as well.