Monday, May 24, 2010

I don't think the Russians are going to reconstitute their rail mobile ICBM force anytime this century

Questions about rail-mobile missiles started to pop up a few days ago. I haven't heard about "reloads", though, until I saw a piece by Christopher Ford, currently a senior fellow at Hudson Institute. Entitled "Does 'New START' Fumble Reloads and Rail-mobile ICBMs" the piece conveniently summarizes the arguments and "frets about" scenarios in which

"SS-25-style treaty-accountable deployed ICBM launcher could be accompanied by one or more nuclear-armed reload missiles and any necessary reload vehicles,"

or, even worse,

"unlimited numbers of rail-mobile launchers deployed with nuclear-armed missiles."

All this, of course, is just plain crazy.

I think its worth noting what an insane amount of very expensive infrastructure and rolling stock and trials and testing it takes to make a rail mobile ICBM system which you can see for yourself in this video:

Best part of the video is at about 4:30 where, somewhere on the test range in Plesetsk, they set 900 tons of high explosive 650 meters from an SS-24 rail car set and blew it up for shits and giggles or testing or something. And yet, the narrator of the video claims that that very rail car set survived the explosion and successfully launched an SS-24.


Dimitris said...

I would guess that the explosion test was for determining blast survivability against a near-miss by a preemptive enemy nuclear strike.

900 tons of HE at a few hundred meters may produce the same blast wave as a nuclear detonation at a greater distance (not much further out though, as the blast force diminishes rapidly with distance).

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