Means BZHRK "Well done"
In 2017-2018 it became known that the Russian defense industry has stopped work on the creation of a promising combat railway missile complex (BZHRK) "Barguzin" for the strategic missile forces. However, the topic of rocket trains is still of interest and attention. In recent weeks, it has again become relevant in connection with curious messages published by RIA. News.
Throughout the development period of the Barguzin BZHRK, its technical features remained unknown. At the end of 2014, domestic media reported that the railway-based complex was being built on the basis of the existing Yars RS-24 missile. However, officials have not confirmed this information.
On November 14, RIA Novosti published a curious statement by the General Designer of the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering (MIT), which was developing the Barguzin. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Solomonov said that his organization has created a unified Yars complex with wide basing capabilities.
A single ballistic missile of this type can be used with a silo launcher (silo), on a moving soil complex (PGRK), or as part of the BZHRK. In addition, according to individual solutions and components, this version of the Yarsa is unified with the Bulava submarine complex.
This information can be considered an indirect confirmation of reports on the development of Barguzin based on the Yars complex. However, at the moment, such information is no longer of particular importance. The development of a new BZHRK was suspended in favor of projects with a higher priority. Due to various factors, the future of Yars missiles in the context of missile trains has become hazy.
Question of expediency
The statement of Y. Solomonov became the reason for the resumption of disputes on the need for the BZHRK in the arsenals of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces. Opinions on this subject are expressed at different levels. So, on December 5, RIA Novosti published statements by the head of the Center for International Security, IMEMO RAS, Academician Alexei Arbatov.
PGRK "Yars" on the march
The academician sees in the statements of Yu. Solomonov a signal about the possible resumption of the development of Barguzin. At the same time, the need to create a new BZHRK remains in doubt. A. Arbatov recalled that such a technique has both pros and cons, and this must be taken into account when making decisions.
The academician called the improved camouflage capabilities a positive feature of the BZHRK. The train with missiles on board is almost no different from the freight train. On the other hand, the train is tied to patrol routes - "you can see by rail what will go." Train-based locations are extremely vulnerable, and the withdrawal of complexes from the impact can be difficult. Also, the possibility of sabotage at such facilities is not ruled out.
In the context of mobility, according to A. Arbatov, BZHRK inferior to PGRK on wheeled chassis. The latter do not need railways or bridges. Their patrol routes are almost unpredictable.
Also, the academician drew attention to the issue of economic feasibility. The unified PC-24 “Yars” has three variants of basing - but will there be enough money to realize all these possibilities?
In the context of developing new Russian weapons, A. Arbatov drew attention to foreign experience. So, in the composition of the US strategic nuclear forces there is only one ground-based missile system using silos. To replace it, another similar pattern is created. The expansion of the range of missile systems observed in our country is not used in the USA.
No reason to argue
Until 2017-18, when it became known about the suspension of work on Barguzin, the topic of creating a new BZHRK was especially popular and there was active debate around it. News about the freezing of the project led to a reduction in such activity. Statements by Yu. Solomonov about the existence of a unified Yars and the fundamental possibility of creating a rocket train again led to well-known results.
Yars rocket launch
The topic is discussed at all levels, up to general designers and academicians. However, such discussions appear to be premature so far. Two years ago, the military and political leadership of Russia ordered to stop work on the Barguzin BZHRK in favor of other projects with a higher priority.
The first reports of the closure of the Barguzin project mentioned the economic reasons for such a decision. Details appeared later. The development of the BZHRK and the new PGRK was stopped in order to free up resources for the creation of the Avangard complex, which is of particular importance for the Strategic Missile Forces and for defense capability.
In the future, “Barguzin” was still remembered, but now it was not considered as a real complex that could be put into service in the coming years. The attention of the Strategic Missile Forces and the Ministry of Defense as a whole is focused on other missile systems.
Against this background, the latest statements by Yu. Solomonov look like a simple statement of fact. Developing the existing project and the ICBM line as a whole, MIT developed a unified version of the Yars missile for use on different platforms. The mine and mobile execution of the complex is already actively used by the troops, while the railway was abandoned. Perhaps already completely.
What could be the complex
According to known data, MIT began the development of the Barguzin BZHRK in 2012 and continued until the 2017. Officials subsequently disclosed some information, but most of the data came from anonymous media sources. All this made it possible to get the big picture, but how real it turned out is not known.
It was assumed that in general architecture the new Barguzin would be similar to the older Molodets complex. It could be carried out in the form of a train of several wagons with launchers, security equipment, command posts, living quarters, etc. Tactical and technical characteristics until a certain time remained unclear.
The Sarmat missile is the main reason for the rejection of the Barguzin
In 2014, the Russian press reported that Yars-type ICBMs or its modifications would be used as part of Barguzin. This allowed us to draw a number of important conclusions. First of all, it was about the unification of several missile systems of the Strategic Missile Forces by a key element. By that time, the PC-24 were already on duty at the silos and at the PGRK. In the future, they were to be supplemented by ICBMs on trains.
The length of the Yars rocket does not exceed 22-23 m, the launch weight is less than 50 tons. A modern rocket is more than two times lighter than the Molodets RT-23 UTX product, which has serious advantages. A missile launcher with such parameters fits into the limitations of rolling stock. In particular, there is no need to create a special car with an increased number of wheelsets. Path requirements are also reduced, which increases available patrol areas.
BZHRK on the basis of "Yars" could be favorably distinguished from the "Good" higher operational characteristics and greater secrecy. Such a complex could be a good and convenient addition to other means of the Strategic Missile Forces.
In the autumn of 2016, it was reported that missile throw tests for the Barguzin BZHRK were conducted at the Plesetsk training ground. Over the next months, this kind of news was not received, and in December the 2017 press announced the cessation of work. Later, the reasons for the closure of the project became known.
A future without trains
The general plans of the Ministry of Defense and the Strategic Missile Forces command to develop strategic weapons are well known. The main ICBM of troops is gradually becoming the RS-24 "Yars" in two versions - for mines and for moving soil complexes. In the near future there will be a new heavy rocket mine-based RS-28 “Sarmat”. The presence of two modern models will allow for a major modernization of the Strategic Missile Forces and increase their potential.
The existing plans do not have a place to develop and put on duty missile systems based on trains. Previously, such systems were considered necessary, which at one time led to the launch of the Barguzin project. Later it was abandoned in favor of more relevant developments. Returning to the creation of the BZHRK, as far as is known, is not planned.
However, according to the results of incomplete work on the subject of “Barguzin”, MIT and other enterprises gained some experience in creating a modern BZHRK under the latest model missile. If necessary, this experience can be implemented in a new project if the command decides to resume work.