Welcome aboard the Nuclear Express, now that Russia is responding to a major US overhaul of its Nuclear Triad, in order for Moscow to deter hostile mulling by the US Military forces.

According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the Pentagon plans to recapitalize the nuclear triad will cost more than $700 billion over the next 25 years.

The US Air Force is working on a new version of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program., while the US Navy is studying the plans to replace the Ohio-class nuclear submarines.

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has warned that the USA is on the «brink» of kicking off a new nuclear arms race that will elevate the risk of nuclear apocalypse to Cold War levels. And now Moscow has no choice but to respond.

Russia has successfully conducted its first test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) designed for the upcoming Barguzin railway-based strategic nuclear offensive system. It was an «ejection» test with a missile leaving a container.

The launch trials were carried out at the Plesetsk spaceport two weeks ago, paving the way for further flight tests to be carried out in 2017. Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev, commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, told reporters that the new railway-based missile system would be ready for deployment in 2017.

The first five Barguzin railroad systems may become operational by 2020 to remain in service till 2040. Moscow plans to deploy five of the Barguzin trains beginning in 2019.

Each Barguzin-armed train will carry six RS-24 Yars ICBMs ready for launch within minutes. The missile’s maximum range is 11,000 km (6,800 mi). It has at least 4 MIRVs with 150–250 kiloton warheads. The speed is over Mach 20 (24,500 km/h; 15,220 mph; 6,806 m/s). Guidance is inertial with GLONASS. Accuracy is 150-200 m.

Disguised as a freight train, the moving platform cannot be spotted either by satellite or electronic surveillance. It is worth mentioning that the Russian railways are ranked second longest globally. In general, the combat system can pass up to 1,000 kilometers daily. It is extremely difficult to locate it on route.

The system is created as a counterbalance to NATO’s ballistic missile defense (BMD), which is able to launch Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles, in addition to interceptors. The planned deployment of the system is also a response to the challenge posed by the US Prompt Global Strike (PGS) concept which envisions the capability to deliver a precision-guided conventional strike at any target in the world within one hour with hypersonic weapons.

Both – the BMD and the PGS – are considered as destabilizing factors by Russia. The Barguzin is an answer that does not violate the provisions of the 2010 New START Treaty. There is another milestone event related to strengthening Russian nuclear strategic deterrent.

The eighth Knyaz (Prince) Pozharsky Borei-class nuclear-powered submarine will be laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia’s northern town of Severodvinsk on Dec. 23. Knyaz Pozharsky submarine will be the last of the eight Borei-class submarines and the fifth of the advanced A-batch.

The submarine carries 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles. The MIRVed missile carries 6 re-entry vehicles with a yield of 150 each. The operational range is 8,000-8,300 km (5,000 – 5,100 mi).

All these developments make remember that Russia and the USA – the two nations that account for more than 90 % of world strategic nuclear potential – have to make a very important decision about the future of arms control. The New START Treaty expires by 2021 without any prospects for a new agreement coming into force. President Putin and President Trump are the ones to rectify the situation.

Russia Insider / AA Magnum Analyst Blog News 2017.

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