Russia Continues To Upgrade Its Nuclear Arsenal
October 24, 2012 • 9:48AM

Russia Today runs an article reporting on comments made to reporters by Col. Vadim Koval, the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman for the Strategic Rocket Forces.

"Plans are underway to create combat railway-based missile systems designed to give Russia a more flexible means of defense," RT writes. "The system consists of a train with two or three diesel locomotives and specialized railcars, which look like refrigerator or passenger railcars, but carry ICBMs, together with command posts."

Koval said such systems existed from 1987 through 2005, and are being reconsidered, although "a final decision, however, has not been taken on the issue."

The mobile missile proposal is only a small part of what is a significant upgrade of their military capability by the Russian military. In addition to the Topol-M, which has become the work horse of the Russian nuclear arsenal, designers have also developed a new, heavier missile with multiple warheads, the Yars. The Yars is said to be quicker on launch and more maneuverable to avoid possible counter-measures. A new sea-launched missile, the Liner, is also in the process of development to replace the Bulava, which has had a number of failures recently. More significantly, according to former chief of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, General Viktor Esin, Russia will also develop a new liquid-fueled rocket based on the Soviet-era SS-18 rocket.

While liquid-fueled rockets seemed to be somewhat obsolete in this day and age, since they have to be fueled immediately before launch, and are therefore more easily exposed, they permit a greater throw-weight in their payloads. As Esin indicated, this is all a result of the U.S. decision to move forward on its missile defense plans.

The recent test of the triad, involving a launch by President Putin, was a clear sign of their determination in this regard. But it was, in addition, a test to get the kinks out of the system. During the test of the new command-and-control system, President Putin had to push the button twice in order to launch, and one of the upper-stage Briz rockets failed to ignite. It was the same upper-stage Briz rocket which had also caused the failure of their civilian Phobos-Grunt to reach Mars.