The Sevmashpredpriyatiye shipbuilding plant announced that the Yuri Dolgorukiy submarine, the first of the Project 955 class, willl be launched on April 15, 2007. The submarine has been under construction for more than ten years.

The launch, however, is not yet the end of the story for this boat - the Bulava missile that will be deployed on Project 955 submarines is still far from being ready for operations. The Bulava development program suffered three failed flight tests in a row in 2006. The program will probably recover, but it will take time.

Project 955 submarines seem to be particularly unlucky when it comes to their missiles. As I understand, when this project started in the early 1980s, the submarine was supposed to carry a small SLBM known as "Ost". By the time the construction of the first submarine started in 1996, the project was changed to accommodate the "Bark" missile, which was an upgrade of R-39 (SS-N-20). After three flight test failures, that project was cancelled in favor of Bulava in 1998. Now it's Bulava that is having problems.