Russia halts development of rail-mobile ballistic missile system

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The development of the new Russian rail-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) under development for the Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation or RVSN has been excluded from Russia’s new state armament plan for 2018-2027 due to lack of financing, a source in the Russian defense ministry told TASS on Wednesday.

The project of new Russian rail-mobile ICBM is officially called ‘Barguzin’ and it is a replacement of the previous military railway missile complex 15P961 Molodets SS-24 Scalpel. The Barguzin could be armed with six ICBMs, a fifty-five-ton missile that reportedly carries up to 4 nuclear warheads, and is already deployed in fixed silos and mobile truck-mounted launchers.

As the source told TASS, the Barguzin project had been put on hold since the autumn of last year and the pop-up tests of the Yars missile from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in north Russia were the last work carried out under this program.

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“The rail-mobile ICBM system will also be excluded from the new state armament program through 2027 over a shortage of financing: there are no sufficient funds to finance all missile programs for Russia’s Strategic Missile Force and Russia has sacrificed the Barguzin project for the time being for the sake of the Sarmat and the RS-26 Rubezh ICBMs included in the new state program,” the source said.

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Train-based ICBMs do offer some advantages over missiles in fixed silos, namely that the enemy can never be sure where they are—or, more accurately, where all of them are at any given moment. But rail and truck launchers have their drawbacks.


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