Yuri Solomonov, Director and the General Designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the design bureau that is developing the Bulava missile, resigned today. The Institute announced a search for a new director. It is not clear at this point if Solomonov will keep the post of the General Designer of MITT and whether he will continue to oversee development of Bulava and Topol-M/RS-24 missiles.

This is something that was expected after a series of unsuccessful Bulava tests which culminated in the most recent failure. It also shows how the Soviet/Russian defense industry operates - design bureaus are generally given quite a bit of latitude in what they do and what they say as long as they deliver on their promises and don't embarrass the political leadership (which often takes some of the claims quite literally). Since the Bulava program didn't deliver, Solomonov had to pay the price. Moreover, this may not be the end of it - although the program will certainly continue, we will probably see more discussions about the direction of the SLBM as well as ICBM programs.