Nukes on rail
You might take a closer look at the train on the track beside you next time traveling in Russia. Combat ready railway-based nuclear missile system was a trademark from the last days of the USSR. Soon it could be on track again.
The idea is simple; you place a missile onboard a wagon that looks like an ordinary cargo railcar. Guards and personnel to push the red button follow in a passenger wagon. The train moves around; making it more difficult for a possible enemy to take it out in case of war.
In the late Soviet period, the Strategic Rocket Forces operated 12 such trains, carrying a total of 36 missiles tipped with 10 nuclear warheads each. The first train was commissioned in 1987 and the last was removed from service in 2005. The nuclear missile trains were operating from Kostroma, Krasnoyarsk and Perm. They were driving both dedicated military railway lines, as well as lines used by public transport trains.
A detailed description of the nuke-trains is published on the portal Russian strategic nuclear forces. The info is made available by a non-state group of Russian and American researchers.
Elimination of the nuke-trains has been listed in the START-agreement and partly funded by the American Nunn-Lugar program Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR). Last week, BarentsObserver reported about the Russian Foreign Ministry hinting to show CTR the door by not prolonging the current agreement.
Russia Today refers to Col. Vadim Koval, spokesman for the Strategic Rocket forces in the Ministry of Defense, when reporting about the plans to reintroduce combat railway-based missile system.
“A final decision, however, has not been taken on the issue,” Koval added.
Placing strategic nukes on rail again is yet another setback in US – Russian relations following Moscow’s deep concerns that a possible US missile defense system could be targeted against Russian missiles instead of missiles from Iran or North Korea.
Last Friday, Russia held the largest nuclear arsenal drill since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Intercontinental missiles and cruise missiles were crossing the skies of the Barents Region, as reported by BarentsObserver.